Deal or No Deal: The Significance of Good Choices
Message by Rev. Erny McDonough
Fisherman’s Chapel, Port O’Connor, Texas
James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”
“Deal or No Deal” is a popular TV show where contestants answering simple questions have the opportunity to win a case with a million dollars inside. Trading of hundreds of thousands of dollars for the opportunity of the million seems to cloud the basic judgment of most of the participants. Their choices, more often than not, cost them not only the million, but also the hundreds or even thousands they could have freely walked away with.They do not seem to understand that this show is not just about choices, but is really merely a game of chance!
This is not what real life is all about! It appears at time to include elements of luck, but is basically a matter of choices. Deut. 30:19 & 20 condenses this concept into a practical truth. “This day I call Heaven and Earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to His Voice, and hold fast to Him, for the Lord is your life…” It is clear, from these verses and many more with the same theme, that the power of choice is indeed in our hands. There do appear to be victims, but even that is probablt contributed, partially or greatly, to unwise choices of others. The “Power to Live” is in our hands! It is our choice!
Life is comprised of small, seemingly insignificant choices that become life-shaping habits and the guiding force for life-altering choices.
If I were to give away a thousand dollars, one dollar at a time to one person at a time, I might appear that I was giving away only dollar bills, but that would be a wrong assumption. I would be giving away a thousand dollars! The dollar bill is insignificant, but a thousand of them is not. Life is not merely a culmination of choices, it is indeed each and every choice. How can I know that I am making good choices? Do I need to wait until someone hits the “grand total” button?
I. How Can I Know That I Am Making Good Choices?
James 1:5 reminds us that we have a God who will provide generously for us who ask! Now that is not only enlightening, but very encouraging. In context with the rest of the thought, James tells us everything that we need to know about gaining wisdom that will assist us in making the wiser of choices.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.“ James 1:2-8
Where is the source of wisdom? Verse 5: God
What are the prerequisites for recieving wisdom? Verse 5: We must be an anyone; we must be lacking; and Verse 6:, we must believe and not doubt.
When is wisdom needed? Verse 2: Whenever we face trials of many kinds
What are the benefits of wisdom? Verse 4: that we may be mature and complete; and Verse 2, pure joy.
II. What Hinders Me From Making Better Choices?
If truth is available to all who seek it, then what hinders us from making the better of choices?
A. Emotions – Our feelings affect our ability to choose correctly. When we are angry, sad, discouraged, depressed, or even giddy, we are prone to make errors in judgment and prone to making poor decisions.
B. Selfishness – An agenda of selfishness or even self-will will affect our decision making ability! When we try to elevate our opinions over others just because we want to be right, when our pride demands that we be right, we are in a position to promote unwise choices.
C. Ungodly Influences – Those voices that do not come from Godly lips might counsel and encourage us to make unwise decisions. According to a recent survey, more than 90% of adults do not operate from a biblical worldview. Talk show hosts, movies, popular music, and even most newspapers promote decision-making based on whatever is the most current thought. We are being influences not to even consider “What does the Bible say about this?”
III. My Story – My Feelings – My Reality
The model that is being promoted as practical is “My story- my feelings – my reality!” This concept teaches that if it is what I feel and who I am, then you MUST accept it and leave me along – or help me achieve what it is that I want at the moment. My choices then take me farther away from truth and ultimate reality!
IV. My Story – God’s Story – The Reality
God’s model is very different: My story – God’s story – The reality! My story must connect with what God says is right. His truth is the only true reality. I must be what God says I am! I must live the way God has designed for me to live. I must choose what He chooses in order to live.
I have a dream that God wants me to be the best in all my situations: the best employee at my job, the best parent at PTA, the person known for a tender heart and a level head, a person who can be trusted, a person who makes the better of choices in my life, in the lives of my family, in my workplace, and in my community. Can we believe and commit to God these two affirmations?
I will put more of God’s Word into my life.
I will question the influences around me and submit them to the criteria of God’s Word.