Difficult Decisions That Are Easy To Make
From time to time everyone finds himself in the uncomfortable position of having to make a decision between two conflicting objects or ideas. In such a situation both choices may have a strong appeal causing one to want them both. But since they conflict it is impossible to consistently have them both and so a choice must be made between them.
This is precisely the position that the Christian finds himself in when the devil tempts him to do that which is contrary to the Lord's will. The Christian certainly has a desire to obey the Lord and be saved, but from a fleshly point of view the disobedience to which the devil tempts him may be very appealing. As someone has well said, the devil's temptations are tailor-made to fit every man's weaknesses. Paul said, "For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members." Romans 7:22-23. When this situation arises a decision must be made, but how can we be sure of making the right decision? How shall we overcome the devil?
The truth of the matter is that the surest way to make the right decision is to make it before the conflicting situation ever arises. In other words, the Christian ought to make up his mind from the start to put the Lord first (Matt. 23:37) and then study to know and apply his will. Heb.5:12-14. Having fully committed himself to the Lord it is then a much simpler matter to measure every question by his word and to flatly reject anything that is found to be out of harmony with it. In this he is prepared before hand for the devil's temptations and able to resist him through the faith. I Peter. 5:8-9.
For example we live in a time when society is tolerant, if not overly encouraging, to every kind of immorality. Deceit, theft, revelry, drunkenness, violence, civil disobedience, illicit and often perverted sex flourish everywhere. Further, in many cases a person's popularity with society is measured by whether or not he will indulge in such things. But to the faithful Christian the desirability of popularity will not overcome him. He will have long ago made up his mind to "deny ungodliness and worldly lusts" and to "live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world." Titus 2:11-13. Like the young man Joseph who was tempted by his master's wife, he will say, "How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?" Gen. 39:9.
Again, the material objects and interests of this world so appeal to men that they often give themselves and their money completely to them, but these things, which can be so attractive, will not embroil the faithful Christian. He will have already made up his mind to give himself and his money to the far more important interests of the kingdom of God. Matt. 6:33. He will make no decision that will cheat the Lord's work of the time, talent, and money that ought to be given to it. Like the poor widow of Luke 21:1-4 he would rather give his own living than fail to give to the Lord.
Again, the desire to enjoy peace with others tempts many to compromise principle and silently go along with that which is sinful. This is particularly true among brethren because no one enjoys the discomfort of conflict with those they love. But the faithful Christian will not let his desire for peace with man blind him to the need for doctrinal soundness and peace with God. He will have already decided that when what brethren, or parents, friends, or anyone, says is out of harmony with what God commands he will be loyal to God. II Tim. 2:2-4. Like the apostle Paul who was looked upon by beloved brethren as an enemy for it, he will nonetheless speak the truth. Gal. 4:16.
Thus, decisions that are difficult without the help of the Lord's word become easy to make with that help. To be sure, a Christian may falter and make the wrong decision but this will happen only when he fails to study the truth or when he lets his love for it grow weak. Our ability to make the right decision is proportionate to our knowledge of the truth and to our zeal in applying it. Girded in God's truth the Christian will not be overcome.