February 2006

I don't know if you're like me or not. But I'm assuming you are. And I'm also assuming that each day you are inundated with decisions. Decisions are everywhere. Some are small. "What should I eat for breakfast? Or should I skip breakfast and just grab Starbucks?" Others are large. "Where should I live? Should I take this job? Should I get married or dump this guy and move to Africa?" If you're anything like me, which I'm still assuming you are, it's not the decision itself that scares me. It's the consequences that follow.

Consequences aside, there's something else about decisions that also scares me. It's that God is watching. I don't mean to sound overly spiritual or even trite, only honest. There is a part of me that trembles at the thought that God knows and is watching not merely the results of my decisions, but my motivations in decision making as well.

Again, I'm assuming you're probably a little like me. And if you are, then maybe you've had some of those thoughts too. I also can't help but think these thoughts and others partly result in a statement that we use so often. Have you ever thought or said this about your future. "I'm open to anything. God can do whatever He wants."

It sounds good. It recognizes that we as followers of Christ live underneath the rule and authority of a Sovereign God who has the right to do whatever He desires in our lives and with our futures. But, is it just me, or does saying "I'm open" sound a little apathetic to anyone else? Don't get me wrong, I don't think the intentions behind this phrase are apathetic. However, I think it's time to recognize just being open is not enough.

My desire is that I would be open. Open to God's leading, but faithfully committed to His commands. Perhaps what I should say then is not merely that "I'm open," but that I'm actively seeking to honor God's commands as He set them out in His word.

I like Paul. Actually, some days I don't really like Paul because he's a little too convicting for my taste. But here's how he said it, "It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known…" From everything I can tell, Paul was a pretty open guy, but he was also committed. Committed to proclaiming what He knew and had tasted…committed to bringing those who were far from God, to the knowledge of God.

My question is not if I'm open. I know I'm open. My question is-what am I committed to? What commitment helps me each day make the decisions I'm faced with? After all, Starbucks versus a bowl of cereal at home is not a life and death decision. But if I am really following Christ the way I know I desire to follow Him, is it possible to live my entire life, even breakfast, in a realm that like Paul is committed to a bigger purpose then just myself and my own desires? I think it is.

I think it is possible to live in such a way that at the end of the day we crawl into bed with the decisions of life made with a commitment to a purpose bigger than ourselves. After all, "…He has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us." God has entrusted and committed a message to us. Why not let the commitment to that message be that which determines ourdecisions, our desires, and the path of our lives?

Here's a real life example from a friend who we'll call Jack. Jack and his wife, Evelyn, are Christians who are open to going anywhere and doing anything the Lord wants them to. They are in their mid-twenties and have never received a "calling" to missions. Their Spaghettios have never coincidentally spelled out "ETHIOPIA" and they've never seen a huge hand appear out of no where that writes "Be a Missionary" on their living room wall.

But Jack and Evelyn love God. They want to see more people come to know Him. They have heard about places in the world with little to no access to the Gospel, and they've thought, "God loves those people. He wouldn't be mad if we decided to go and tell them about His Son, Jesus. God isn't in heaven wringing His hands wondering if we will go to Kazakhstan instead of Tajikistan. We won't totally screw up God's eternal will if we go, so let's do it." Again, they haven't heard an audible voice saying, "Go Ye." They've just taken what they know about God and the world, and stepped out in faith trusting that if God really wants them somewhere else, He'll redirect them. Jack and Evelyn have decided to go, and are currently receiving training for that. This is what it means to be open and committed.