July 18, 2016

Choose your love & love your choice

by Clint Archer

Buyer’s remorse often grips people just after they indulge in an expensive purchase. It’s a cognitive dissonance of the “what if” factor. What if what I bought isn’t as good as what I didn’t buy; what if I can’t afford it and will regret the expense later? Marketing pundits have come up with ways to ease the buyer’s distress. There are two main ways to do this.a bag of regret

The first tactic is to offer a reasonable exchange policy. If you regret your choice and change your mind you can simply return the item or exchange it for a different one. It’s the old “take the puppy home and if you want, just return it in a couple of days” routine.

The other method is a bit more crude, but just as effective: you remove the chance of buyer’s remorse caused by too many choices by limiting the choices. Apple does this. They don’t have 100 different laptops they have the Macbook –Air or –Pro in one color and two sizes. And when a new model hits the rack, the former choices evaporate into oblivion. You get what you get and you don’t get upset. But for this to work, you need a superior product.

In your spiritual life God has made your choice simple: the true, living, loving, all-powerful saving God, or dead idols who can’t save.

Joshua’s parting words to the nation of Israel was a simple case of choose your love, and then love your choice.

Here are three steps we find in Joshua’s famous charge to Israel to make a commitment to God…

1. CONSIDER YOUR CHOICES

Joshua 23: 6 Therefore, be very strong to keep and to do all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses… 7 that you may not mix with these nations remaining among you or make mention of the names of their gods or swear by them or serve them or bow down to them, 8 but you shall cling to the Lord your God just as you have done to this day.

Joshua is about to call the nation to make a covenant to stay faithful to one God and so he reminds them of their options. God or non-gods. This is an easy choice.

buyers remorse items2. CHOOSE YOUR MASTER

Joshua 24:14 “…Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

This is the statement that Joshua is famous for making. I’ve seen it adorning front doors, embroidered on pillows, and tattooed on the biceps of trendy pastors in Hebrew script.

It is an awesome commitment of breathtaking simplicity. “You do what you do, but I will serve God. I don’t care if my house is the only one in the world making this choice, we will serve the right God, the true God, the living God, come what may.”

And yet many Christians prefer to blend in. Denominations are endorsing the theory of evolution as more acceptable than the biblical account of creation. Some churches are limping between the choice to make an unpopular stand or to cave in to the pressure to accept unbiblical views about gender, marriage, parenting, and sexual behavior.

In 2014 NYTimes.com reported on the reinstatement of Frank Schaefer after he was removed from ministry for officiating at his son’s same-sex wedding. Schaefer was reported as saying: “Today there was a very clear and strong signal from the church, and that message is, ‘Change is on the way,’ … One day we will celebrate the fact that we have moved beyond this horrible chapter in our church’s life.”

By “horrible chapter” he means the time when the church agrees with God’s word, instead of the world’s immorality.

We need to know the truth, proclaim the truth, defend the truth, and even die for the truth. Because the truth matters! Even if we are the only church in the denomination, in the city, or in the world.

You need to commit too, even if yours is the only family in the school, in the suburb, or in the nation that does that.

If you haven’t done so already, you need to choose whom you will serve.

3. COMMIT TO STAY FAITHFUL

Joshua 24:22 Then Joshua said to the people, “You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen the Lord, to serve him.” And they said, “We are witnesses.” 23 He said, “Then put away the foreign gods that are among you, and incline your heart to the Lord, the God of Israel.”

The Puritan Henry Smyth once said of marriage, “First a man must choose his love, and then he must love his choice.” I suspect he culled that aphorism from Joshua.

Joshua is saying, “You need to choose the God you will love and serve, but then you need to love and serve and sacrifice for your choice. And it’s not easy. This God is a holy God and he is a jealous God. He will not put up with sin nor will he tolerate unfaithfulness.”

The realization of the difficulty of our commitment begets our need for grace. It’s a commitment that we need to keep making every day. But if Jesus is God, then no matter what he says, I’m all in. If he is my Lord and my God, then he gets to decide how I should live, what I believe, and what happens to me.

If you are not up to that kind of commitment, then you are in the wrong religion.

How about you; are you all in?

Have you chosen your love?

Now love your choice.

Clint Archer

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Clint has been the pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church since 2005. He lives in Durban, South Africa with his wife and four kids.
  • Jon45Solas

    This is so much better than “If you can’t be with the one you love, then love the one you’re with.” Sorry, not sorry, Stephen Stills. ;-p

    Excellent post about love’s demands, Clint. Too many people in our day have been duped by well meaning preachers with a damning message of easy believism that ignores the Lord’s charge to count the cost and forsake all others.

    Thank God for you guys here at the Cripplegate taking a stand for the WHOLE counsel of God. Keep it up!

  • Johnny

    “First a man must choose his love, and then he must love his choice.” I’m going to be thinking about that one today

  • Enjoyed the post. I’m all in, too.

  • 4Commencefiring4

    Regretting one’s choice often stems from not having enough information prior to choosing, and therefore “going off half-cocked”, as we like to say; or believing that somehow things–or people–will change for the better once the choice is made.

    In both instances, the smart money is on refusing the choice in question until clearer heads prevail. But we are impatient–especially if she’s real pretty.

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  • Mahla Etan

    In a world with non commitment and political correctness, it is refreshing to see someone just state it like it is. Excellent post!