By Rhonda Rhea –
How about we all just do this thing together. Let’s simultaneously go to the pantry for something to snack on and stare at a box of instant potatoes for about three minutes.
It’s true, decisions can be tough. We make a lot of difficult choices every day. That’s why I try not to judge people, for instance, according to their snack choices. Even when they don’t choose chocolate. I try not to judge, but let’s face it, I don’t get them at all. You say potato. I say Butterfinger.
Relatedly, I also try not to judge according to the sandwich choices people make at Subway. I really do try. But seriously, what’s wrong with those people who pick anything that’s not honey oat? Don’t they know honey oat is like the Butterfinger of breads?
Okay, I do realize there are decisions we have to make every day that are bigger and more urgent than snackage. We live in an age when people constantly make disastrous choices. That’s not unique to our age. The apostle Paul also lived in an age when dishonoring God was the choice du jour for most. Just as they do now, people chose to rebel and chase after pleasure instead of following the Father.
Paul’s instruction to them was the same as we need to follow today: make the decision to give everything. “Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship” (Romans 12:1 HCSB).
Presenting our bodies and becoming a living sacrifice is a choice. We make a decision to please the Father—or not—with every move we make and with every thought we think. Everything we have, body and soul, physical and spiritual, must be surrendered to Him if we want to live in victory. Every time we surrender, we’re choosing to feed our spirits in a way that readies us for living the way He designed us to live. Isn’t it amazing the freedom we find in surrendering to Him that way?
That surrender begins in the mind—that seed-spot of every decision. The next verse in Romans 12 says, “Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God” (HCSB). We’re just plain foolish when we expect our minds, the birthplace of our decisions, to spontaneously make the right moves in their natural state.
A few chapters later in the book of Romans, Paul addresses the unrenewed vs. the renewed mind. “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit” (Romans 8:5 ESV).
A mind set on the things of the flesh is a mind that makes decisions based on its own selfish wants and desires. The renewed mind is bent on making every choice to please the Father, even at the sacrifice of the body. And the result of making the right choice? Life! Even peace! “For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace” (Romans 8:6 ESV).
These really are “life and death” kinds of decisions. So much more so than the Butterfinger choice. Even before you check the nutrition label.