Would you deny the Lord?
Are the decisions you make today important? Of course they are, but they may be more important than you believe. The small choices you make now will determine how you will choose when it really matters.
Today in many parts of the world believers are having to face the ultimate test of faith – deny Jesus or die. At the moment we in the Western Hemisphere are not faced with life-threatening decisions. But if we were forced into a similar scenario ‘where would we stand?’ Would you deny the Lord?
Our immediate response might be to say ‘of course I would not deny the Lord’. We would probably adopt a similar posture to Peter when Jesus told him of his betrayal. He is was shocked and appalled. As a fiercely loyal man he was sure at the right moment his devotion would pass the test. We all know how that worked out. But leaving his failure aside the question still remains. How would I fare?
While there are variables we cannot anticipate, our ability to remain loyal has everything to do with what we are currently doing. That is, the decisions we make later will usually resemble the decisions we are making now. It is simply a matter of scale. The significance of a moment matters, but does not mean we will choose any differently.
The implication means when you practice saying no to God you set a course for your future. The rationale of most believers, is that when it really matters, I will say yes. Unfortunately you’ve already decided! Like the ruts in a muddy road, once they are firmly established it is very hard to pull out of them. You may be willing but the force needed would be an amount you are not commonly accustomed to bring to the table.
This is what Jesus was getting at when He spoke of our levels of faithfulness. He plainly stated, ‘He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much.’ (Luke 16:10)
There is a saying in the sports world which says ‘you play how you practice’. Some of that has to do with what is called ‘muscle memory’. It means that when you repeatedly do the same action with a muscle group, it will create an ability to do it unconsciously and with ease. To do otherwise means to overcome a certain kind of inertia. Not impossible, but only with great and deliberate effort! And, as we are already seeing, if we have not made the effort until now, how can we be sure the necessary sense of urgency will compel us later.
Denying oneself is never easy. It takes meaningful and deliberate action. Saying no to oneself and yes to God takes practice. Thankfully we are not being faced with the ultimate question as some of the saints are at this moment. Still one has to wonder what preparations are being made in our lives. The question might be as simple as, ‘will you worship with all your heart this coming Sunday’, or ‘are you willing to reconcile with a brother who wronged you?’ Either way, whatever decision you make only increases the odds of you making the same decision when it really matters. So beginning with today we should just determine to not deny the Lord!