After the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001 President George Bush said
to the world, “If you are not for us, you are against us.” Many
applauded the statement, but others suggested that it was dangerous because
it might cause neutral nations and groups to be “against us”. ( guess
we could say that President Bush did not “beat around the bush.”)
Well, I have my own ideas about this, but the point I want to make is that
such an idea was not new with President Bush. He borrowed the concept from
somewhere…. Let's see where it came from.
"He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me
scatters.” (Matthew 12:30). This statement was made by our Lord almost
two thousand years ago. Our language has many colorful expressions for
indecisiveness: to be “wishy-washy”, to “hem and haw”, to
“beat around the bush”, to “straddle the fence”.
Such instability sometimes masks itself as being “open minded” but
Jesus described such as having “no root” (Matthew 13:20,21). These
individuals are unstable and undependable. This is not what discipleship is
all about! (Cf. Ephesians 4:14; James 1:8; 4:8; 2 Peter 3:16).
In spiritual matters, as well as in more trivial things, the inability to
make decisions, and sometimes tough decisions, is a serious problem. With
some things, “he who hesitates is lost.” If you know the right thing
to do, but cannot bring yourself to do it because of inner conflicts, you
may lose the opportunity to act… in fact, no opportunity lasts forever
God Allows Choice
The Lord gave us free wills. We can choose whatever we wish, but there are
consequences for poor choices just as there are rewards and blessings for
wise choices. God challenges us to choose, to decide for or against Him - "And
if it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves
today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which
were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are
living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." (Joshua
We see this challenge to choose rightly made over and over again, and people
are held responsible for the choices we make. “And Elijah came near to
all the people and said, "How long will you hesitate between two opinions?
If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him." But the people
did not answer him a word.” (1 Kings 18:21).
Regarding faithful discipleship, more is needed than a one-time
“decision” to obey - faithfulness to God requires constant
determination, decisiveness, resoluteness. This is what both Joshua and
Elijah were calling for. Daily choosing to please the Lord. A pattern of
The problem with many, even of those who are supposedly Christians, is that
they have never fully made up their minds about God and have never really
been converted to the Lord. There is a difference in being moved a little in
the Lord's direction and being converted to the Lord! Our choice must be
clear and clearly seen. If we are willing to compromise or act evasively in
order to gain time, avoid argument, or postpone a decision, then we need to
think seriously about what Jesus said, “He who is not with Me is against
Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters.” .
Well, its each man and woman's own choice. We each are free to choose, and
if we choose to rest instead of grow; we will be responsible for it. Many
have sat down to rest and maintain the status quo, and rested pretty much in
the same place until they died.
Our characters are the cumulative product of every “little” choice we
have made. Though some do, few set out with the malignant intent to defy
God. (2 Timothy 2:13). But like following the course of least resistance is
what makes rivers crooked it makes people that way too…. crooked and bent
and nothing like what God intended for them to be.
What kind of character is formed by refusing to decide and discern and
follow through strongly and convincingly? Some may have become what they are
by postponement and procrastination, rather than purpose and dedication.
There is the old saying, “The road to hell is paved with good
intentions.” But Jesus says the man is a fool who postpones obedience -
Listen! By our indecision, we offer an offensive, disgusting insult to the
Lord. Did you know that the uncommitted are nauseating to the Lord?
(Revelation 3:15,16). Failing to make a decisive choice shows that one not
fit for the kingdom -(Luke 9:57-62). Ultimately, there is no middle ground:
not to decide for the Lord is to decide against Him!
Be Prepared in Mind
With God and by God's power, You can solve impossible problems when you make
the tough decisions called for by faith (Mark 10:27). We need to take
control of the emotional feelings that threaten to overthrow our sober
decisions. It is not necessary to “hit bottom” before we take charge
of our decisions, but sometimes people do . (Cf. the Prodigal Son in Luke
Maybe we need to view our unmade decisions as ticking time bombs. We do not
know when they'll “go off” and irreversibly ruin our eternity, but we
know they will if we do not act to disarm them first. If you have not made
the commitment you need to make to being Jesus' disciple because of neglect,
procrastination… because you're just too busy… your life is a ticking bomb
more devastating than any weapon of man… and it is ticking now.
To die on the cross for our sins was Jesus' choice. He said He “laid
down” His life, and that “no one took it” from Him. (John
10:17,18). In Gethsemane, Jesus was deciding, making up His mind to go to
the Cross. In a sense, Gethsemane was more difficult for the Lord than
Golgotha, because it was in Gethsemane where the decision was made for the
final time to do what had to be done. Jesus did not deny us then, but in the
end, Jesus will deny those who have not been decisively for Him- Too many
have already wasted too much time trying to “have it both ways.”
“Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts” (Hebrews
4:7). Our character in Christ is being shaped today. What we are tomorrow
depends on what we decide today; “But solid food is for the mature, who
because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.”
based on outline by Gary Henry
From The Bradley Banner 9/5/2004
Published by the Bradley Church of Christ
1505 E. Broadway
Bradley, IL 60915