“Yes, No , Maybe, Whatever”

By Jon W. Quinn

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 (James 4:17).

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 24:15).

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 righteous discernment.

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.

Indecision Is Hostility
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 - (Matthew 7:24-27.)

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 15:17-19).

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.” (Hebrews 5:14).

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


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