Tough Decisions


Difficult Decisions and the Favor of God

For some weeks now, we have been studying from the book of Daniel and learning two very important lessons that work together in our lives. The first lesson, we called the “surface lesson” and it stated simply that God meets the faithful in the fire. The meaning of that, as demonstrated in the book of Daniel time and time again, is that when you are faced with a tough decision, one path always seems to lead to a place of discomfort while the other path seems to lead to a place of comparative comfort. We spoke of the place of discomfort as the place of “fire.” But what the book of Daniel demonstrates over and over is that when God’s faithful people willingly choose to enter the fire of hardship, trial, testing, or other difficulty, God shows up there, meets them in the fire, and takes them to a place of greater blessing on the other side.
Of course, the flip side is also true. Those who choose the path of ease and comfort (as we have seen in the lives of Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar especially and to a lesser extent Darius the Mede) don’t find the comfort they thought they would find. Instead, they eventually reach a place of fiery trial brought on them by God himself!
In other words, the decision that looks the most uncomfortable is the one that leads to blessing and joy while the decision that looks the most comfortable leads to hardship, pain, and even judgment.
Why does it work that way?
Well, remember the second lesson learned in the book of Daniel is what we called the “underlying lesson,” and it’s the lesson that No matter what it looks like, God is in charge and He has a plan for his people.
You see, since God is in charge, the outcome to all our decisions depends on God’s will far more than on our ability to execute!

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.
Proverbs 16:9

So, as we have learned, because God is in charge, and because he has a plan for his people, the decisions we make according to God’s will, no matter how difficult they seem, and no matter how uncomfortable they may appear, will lead to blessing in the end.

Making Difficult Decisions

So now we come face to face with a glaring problem. We don’t want to make the hard decisions, and all the promises in the world of blessing on the other side just don’t seem to motivate us:

  • We know that hard exercise and good diet make our bodies more healthy and live longer… but we still slack and splurge.
  • We know that spiritual disciplines like gathering for worship, reading the Bible, praying, journalling, participating in a small group, volunteering on a service team, etc. will help us grow spiritually and become stronger in our faith, but we still sleep in.
  • We know that returning to God the first 10% of our income as a tithe, being generously supportive of global missions, and helping out the local poor results in spiritual and financial blessings, but we still buy TVs on credit.
  • We know that creating a home of structured discipline will benefit our family and set up our children well for their future, but we still avoid punishment.
  • We know that remaining sexually pure in all ways outside marriage leads to God’s favor, but we still visit the websites, read the books, watch the movies, think the thoughts, and spend the night.

As Christians, we have not done well at doing the hard things, no matter what the promises of blessing might be, but maybe there’s hope for us now.

A New Perspective

So maybe, because we have just received a new perspective on life through the study of Daniel, maybe we now are more able to tackle some of these difficult decisions. After all, if we really believe God is in charge, and we really believe he has a plan for his people, and we really believe he shows up to the faithful in the fire, then we will actually be willing to walk into those fiery trials with anticipation of God’s blessing!
So the question for us is this: How strongly do I believe God is in charge, has a plan, and will meet me in the fire?
If you do believe it, if you really believe it, if we all believe it, then making those tough decisions will be a little easier.
Perhaps we should spend a few weeks thinking about those tough decisions. As a matter of fact, I think we will.

What about you?

What decisions are tough for you? Let me know in the comments below.

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