I love the Prego® Spaghetti sauce ads. A recent one, “Questionable Choices: Hair Style” made me laugh as the woman in the commercial says, “I wonder what other questionable choices I’ve made” and then she recalls a few outlandish hairdos.
Ah yes, I remember some of the over-the-top hair styles from the past! (I had so many good hair role models!)
- Remember “big hair”?
- Remember the “beehive”?
- Remember the “hair flip”?
- Remember the “Farrah”?
My personal favorite was the “Split-level.” I wore a sad, curly version of that in college. It was a short, poofed-up bob in the front with long hair cascading over my shoulders. (No, I will not post a photo of me … but I looked a lot like this French Poodle to the right!)
Yes, I made lots of questionable hair choices.
And some questionable money choices.
And questionable food choices, like:
- Taking a perfectly good bowl of simple Greek yogurt and “confusing” it with honey, chopped walnuts and 1/4 cup of mini chocolate chips!
- And eating half a bag of potato chips. Not a mini bag … a big family-sized bag.
- And eating half a carton of raspberry sherbet, because I wanted to clear out the freezer for a diet. (HUH?)
I discovered recently an important concept: I might have waited far too long to eat healthy. Now, with an itsy-bit of hope left, I’m beginning to eat green, lean and clean—trying to regain my health. The jury’s still out on whether I’ll be successful.
I am living out that convicting Dutch proverb, “We grow too soon old and too late smart.”
The decisions that bother me most are my past questionable spiritual choices.
Most of my ministry days I’ve promoted good, wise, godly choices. But that doesn’t mean I’ve always lived them. The sorry truth is:
We can uphold and promote truth to others while failing to live purely by truth ourselves, but sooner or later our fleshly hypocrisy will catch up with us.
I think it’s sad that:
- I’ve promoted peace while living with anxiety;
- I’ve promoted rest while working unreasonable hours;
- I’ve promoted joy while struggling with depression; and
- I’ve promoted love while protecting my own agenda.
Before you judge me too harshly, what have you promoted while … doing something else?
I understand I’ll never be perfect this side of heaven, but I know there are four things I can do to live a more authentic life.
1. I Can Keep It Real.
I can make an intentional effort to tell the truth about my own life. I can be honest, not telling people I’m living one way while living another.
God never lies, and He expects me to be truthful too. I’m not to deceive others about my spiritual state.
I can honestly say I am pure, holy, loving, wise, etc. . . . in Christ. But left to myself, I’m a mess. Authentic people do not excuse their sin; they confess it (1 John 1:8-9).
The process of personal sanctification (progressively becoming like Jesus) is the work of God in us that begins at the moment we trust in His Son.
But we don’t sit around like a lump on a pickle. All our doctrines can be right, but people need to see the changes – the practical side of Christianity.
Consider these words:
“People who equate orthodoxy with authenticity find it hard to even consider the possibility that, despite the correctness of all their doctrinal positions, they may have missed the deepest reality of the authentic Christian life. But we must never forget that true Christianity is more than teaching—it is a way of life.” ~ Ray C. Stedman
We will make progress in becoming more like Christ as we rest in and obey the promptings of the Holy Spirit and the wisdom of the Word of God, and as we become Jesus’ disciple (Romans 12:1-2; Ephesians 4:14-16; 2 Peter 3:17-18; Luke 9:23-24). Basically, the Lord must increase and we must decrease (John 3:30). “We are now children of God,” John said, “and what we will be has not yet appeared” (1 John 3:2).
I will be totally changed, but I have not “arrived” yet. Neither have you.
2. I Can Live a More Others-Focused Life.
My authenticity must, at its roots, include a desire to help others who are caught in the the miserable muck and mire of sin. It’s not only “there but for the grace of God go I,” but a more brokenhearted, “Let me share how the grace of God is rescuing me … and He can rescue you too!”
In my testimony of grace, I can explain how I am realizing the consequences of my questionable choices, and how choosing God’s ways is a far better way to live.
In the midst of this choosing, I must remember I can choose nothing apart from God’s Spirit working in my life. He says, “… apart from Me, you can do nothing” (John 15:4-6). (I have nothing but praise that He is always working in my life!)
3. I Can Seek and Embrace God’s Wisdom.
“The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight” (Proverbs 9:10). I must seek God and “fear” (honor, revere, worship) Him. Again, I cannot hope to live the “Christian life” apart from having a proper relationship to God.
And neither can you.
God’s wisdom will keep us from foolish pride and all the questionable choices that come from fearing man—wanting to impress people more than living for the Lord and His Kingdom (Proverbs 29:25).
When we hide God’s Word in our hearts (memorization, meditation) we will have greater resources and “light” to make wise decisions (Psalm 119:105) and not sin (119:11). It’s an intentional choice!
Bible study will help us recognize godly wisdom as we “rightly divide” the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15). Knowing and obeying God’s truth can bring us freedom (John 8:31-32). We are to take every thought “captive” to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)—not entertaining foolish thinking—and control our thoughts and behaviors (Colossians 3:1-6; Philippians 4:8-9) because of who we are in Christ.
4. I Can Remember the End Game.
In the words of an old songwriter, “This world is not my home, I’m just a passin’ through.” It’s true! I’m headed for eternity with my Father God.
As a biblical Christian, knowing that this life is a journey to my heavenly home and that I will someday stand to account for my life (Romans 14:12; 2 Corinthians 5:10), I understand my future reality should dictate the choices of my present reality.
If we remember this is not all there is, we will be motivated to examine and consider our ways and turn to the Lord (Lamentations 3:40; 2 Corinthians 13:5).
As we seek and rely on the Lord, He can enable us to make less questionable choices and more God-honoring ones!
Which of these four points would help you make better choices today?