Making the right choices

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From the desk of…

by Ralph E. Hood, Jr., Major – 

Some of you will remember comedian Flip Wilson and the routines he did of “Geraldine.” Here is a little of the “Classic Geraldine Wisdom” for our consideration:

For those of us who are involved with air travel and lost luggage, she said to the baggage claim agent at LAX (Los Angeles International Airport), “If you all can fly this plane from New York to Los Angeles and find this airport in the dark, you can find my bag.”

For those who can’t say no to alcohol she says, “Don’t take a drink for the road; the road’s already laid out.”

For the wife who needs to explain to her husband why she spent so much on that lovely new dress, she says, “The devil made me do it.”

So many of the things Geraldine dealt with were matters of making good decisions, and she seemed to have a snappy response for a lot of life’s choices.

I am convinced now more than ever that one of the great secrets of life is making the right choices. In my present appointment I see the disappointing results of people who have made the wrong choices, as well as the exciting results of people who have made the right choices. As I look at the difference between the two, I see that it comes back to some simple basic truths of the Christian life and living.

Adam and Eve had to make a choice in the Garden of Eden and, while the “devil didn’t make them do it,” they were most certainly influenced by him in their decision- making process. Unfortunately, that part of life has not changed.

When Peter, Andrew, James and John made a decision to return to their old profession of fishing, Jesus gently reminded them around the breakfast fire as he cooked the fish, “Do you love me more than these?” He asked this question after their experience of fishing all night and catching nothing and then hearing Jesus instruct them, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat.” When they did, they caught more fish than they could handle alone and had to ask for help to bring them in. I did not understand the full implication of “the right side” until I visited the Holy Land and saw a first century fishing boat they brought up from the bottom of the Sea of Galilee. There was no right and left side to the boat. The stern and bow were made exactly alike. Therefore, Jesus must have been talking about “right vs. wrong” in their decision process.

Being fishermen is an honorable profession and they could have settled for his good will and continued in their profession. But Christ had called them from being fishermen to being “fishers of men” as his perfect will for their lives. They had to make a very hard choice that morning.

In Romans Paul talks about the “renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:1,2). “Therefore, I urge you, brothers [and sisters], in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing, and perfect will.”

In the midst of God’s daily mercy, our simple worship is to make our lives “living sacrifices” to him and his will. We are to be transformed by the renewing of our mind. We have to make a conscious decision every day to do his good, pleasing, and perfect will for our lives.

In Geraldine’s thinking, she saw the devil as some big guy who pushed you to do different things and so you did them. The Garden of Eden story says he is a cunning, sly snake, and we have to watch for him as he tempts us all the time.

I have news for you: Jesus has already stomped on his head and is prepared to give us victory in our lives every day and in every way. We have to change our minds to the mind of Christ and move on in victory. Our whole thinking and decision-making process has to be changed. “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5 KJV).

At youth councils recently the young people were reminded of the theme, “ALL OR NOTHING.” As I looked at the words and then tried to apply them to my own life, I had to say once again, “Yes, Lord! Yes, Lord! Yes, yes Lord! Amen!”

Some of you reading this article have been called to be officers in The Salvation Army, and I urge you to make that decision for his perfect will in your life by starting your candidate’s papers now. See your divisional candidates’ secretary for more information.

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