After we entered this world, we loved for others to make our decisions. We influence those decisions by loudly declaring felt needs. Self-centered rebellion became a skill. But decisions? "You make them--I'll reject them if I don't like them."

As adolescence stirred, we suddenly wanted to make every decision. The power of decision was life's most precious right! It affirmed selfhood and created freedom!

In early adult life, we cherished decisions. Decisions created opportunity, were the foundation of dreams, and opened the gateway to achievement.

With age, decisions often were seen as curses. We cherished routine and despised change. Decisions always interrupted routine and initiated change.

We, as a congregation, will make a number of extremely important decisions in the coming year. Our choices will affect "now" in significant ways and will affect our future in critical ways. Each choice will directly impact our spiritual maturity, our effectiveness in touching hearts and minds, and our purposes and objectives as God's people.

Some will want others to choose while they retain the right to be unhappy about the choices. Some will feel the spiritual adrenaline created by the adventure of bold new challenges. Some will dream dreams as they see the possibilities of new opportunity and accomplishment. Some will see "the curse" as the comfortable routine of "the way it was" is assaulted yet again by the horrible "c" word.

Yet, as you analyze all those reactions that describe most if not all of us, you see a prominent, obvious common threat. In each reaction the concern is principally about "me," not about "Him."

God's will focuses on His eternal objectives. God's purposes focus on His earthly pursuit of His eternal objectives. Commitment to God's purposes achieve God's will. God's will cannot be achieved apart from pursuing His purposes.

Somewhere in the mist of past decades, we separate the will of God from the purposes of God. Jesus Christ is the actual, complete embodiment of both God's will and purposes. While we frequently affirm the will, we commonly lose sight of the purpose. We use "the authority" concern to endorse the will, but what do we use to confirm the purpose? If we are somewhat successful in identifying the will, but lose all sight of the purpose, have we really advanced God's cause in Fort Smith and on earth?

Read the gospels diligently to rediscover His purposes as well as His will in Jesus.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 2 November 1997

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