• Pastor Bowler

Make Up Your Mind

One of the most dramatic episodes in the entire Old Testament was when Elijah called out to the people of Israel and said, “How long halt ye between two opinions? If the Lord be God follow Him. But if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.”

What courage, what grand and splendid and sanctified courage, this great prophet showed that day when he stood before this backsliding people, caught up first in the tide of enthusiasm for God and His way, and then so quickly and so shamefully turned from their holy duties to follow the abominations of Baal and the licentiousness of Ashtoreth. The great challenge of the prophet prompts these thoughts considering halting.

Some people do not halt, do not hesitate, do not falter at all, but give all to Christ. They recognize the rightful claims of the Lord Jesus Christ to all they have. They acknowledge the truth of His Word which says that they have been redeemed by His precious blood, bought with a price and are His proper possession. They realize that this old world can never satisfy the hunger of their hearts for reality. They have the intelligence and the moral and spiritual vision to see that lust leads to sin and sin leads to death and that the way of the transgressor is hard. “Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death”(James 1:15). “Good understanding giveth favour: but the way of transgressors is hard” (Proverbs 13:15). They acknowledge both the positive truths and the negative warnings of the Gospel. They can see no right, nor rhyme, nor reason in attempting to live for the devil and then hope to die with the Lord’s grace. With the facts before them, they turn to God and give themselves fully to Christ.

These are the choice people of the ages. Their influence can be found in the dim days of antiquity and right on to the present day. Over and over again, their exploits glorify the pages of human history. Their philosophy lends beauty and dignity and decency to a world which has been, much of the time, submerged in scandal and shame and sin. They have been in the world but not of it. They have had to behold with righteous eyes and tolerate with righteous souls the abominations which have spread like a cloud over human history, but they have never come a part of the general evil. They are God’s, they are Christ’s, and His alone. Thank God for those who do not hesitate, but give themselves to Christ, without reserve and without conditions.

There are others who do not halt but give all to Satan. “…the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will” (2 Timothy 2:26). Their lives are a dreary rehearsal and demonstration of what Satan can do to defame and defile and tarnish human personality. Their faces are lined with sin. Lust and dissipation have etched ugly grooves across their countenances and their characters. Not satisfied merely to destroy and desecrate their own God-given abilities, they look around them and seek for ways and means by which they may destroy others. They turn over their talents and abilities to Satan in a whole-hearted surrender. They leave behind them a trail of trouble, a pathway littered with debris and moral, spiritual junk.

There are also those who do hesitate, who halt as to which master to choose. “…when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions” (Matthew 19:22). They acknowledge the wisdom of turning to God. They realize that there is beauty about Christian morality and spiritual grace which they need.

They are impressed with the hazards and the calamities which lie ahead for them if they do not take the way of righteousness. At the same time, the pleasures of the world appeal to them, “Choosing…to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season” (Hebrews 11:25). The temptation to sacrifice the eternal on the altar of the immediate, to barter away the spiritual for the pleasures of the physical and carnal is very strong. They find themselves first thinking affirmatively on the side of God and righteousness, of Christ and heaven, and then toward the world, the flesh, the devil and the endless, empty road to ruin.

Such people must take a very serious and sober inventory of the riches of earth and the riches of heaven. There is no doubt that the world does hold forth some treasures to be coveted. There is no denying that there are many seemingly beautiful and appealing things outside the province of God’s grace and will. There are companions who are most appealing. There are pleasures which are most delightful. There are occupations that are most rewarding. There are activities that can provide, not only for the body, but the soul itself, elation and delight and seem “…a right way unto man” (Proverbs 16:25). But the Lord Jesus says that no treasure, no pleasure, however precious it may seem for the moment, is worth considering, if it bars the way to God’s blessing and closes the door to God’s salvation. “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26).

Perhaps you are halting, hesitating, about what you should do. It may be that one of the factors you have to consider is your choice of companions. You know that if you become a Christian, you will not be comfortable or welcome in the company of those who despise the Christian faith and who will not have Christ to reign over them. You know also that, if you become a Christian, it is not the will of God for you to choose such associations. You know that the Scripture says, “Come out from among them and be ye separate, and touch not the unclean thing” (2 Corinthians 6:17).

Whatever the reason for hesitation, it is a dangerous and unsatisfying condition. The prophet Elijah, if he were preaching to you today, would say, “How long halt ye between two opinions?” You must make up your mind. You cannot permanently waver and falter between God and Satan. You must make up your mind, and all of the holy and heavenly influence which God can provide, is given you to help you make the right choice.

I urge you today to stop hesitating, stop wavering between what you know to be right and good and what you must acknowledge to be bad and wrong. Choose God. Choose Christ. Choose life eternal. Choose the treasures which will never take wings and fly away. Choose the privileges which cannot be withdrawn at the whim of someone or something. Lay hold on eternal life. “Laying up in store…a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.” (1 Timothy 6:19). The Lord is God. Follow Him. Serve Him. Commit your life to Him. You may be sure that everything you put in His hand will be safely kept and eternally treasured. Turn to Him. Receive Him. Follow Him. Obey Him…today!

“…choose you this day whom ye will serve…but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” Joshua 24:6.

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