- From the Cedar Street Times, Pacific Grove
What does God say about our dilemma?
Merriam-Webster defines a dilemma as: “a usually undesirable or unpleasant choice.” So, a dilemma only gives us two bad choices to pick from.
Some of us see the choice God calls us to make as a dilemma, a dilemma of our own making. Our pride creates this dilemma, which will decide our eternal future. The dilemma is: to live in our sins and face eternal death; or to swallow our pride and reason with God, which will lead to our accepting Jesus as our savior, and eventually, to our dying to our sins, Heb 10:26, “For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,” for willfully remaining in our sins is evidence we have not truly accepted Jesus as our savior.
Our fallen human nature desires instant gratification more than the future eternal life God promises and this fact clouds our decision making process. This flaw is the reason it is so easy for us to fall victim to addictions. Paul describes this problem, Rom 7:14-25, “For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.”
So, even though God is giving us a choice, our human nature sees it as a dilemma. It is only when we know God’s true nature that we are able to accept His help in overcoming the strong desire to sin, which then transforms our dilemma back into the choice God intended. This can only happen with God’s help. Gal 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” It is the realization that Jesus loves us enough to die for us, so we might have the choice of an eternal life, which frees us from the chains of our dilemma. This same freedom, which we used in the Garden of Eden to allow sin into our lives, now leads to our conversion from slaves of sin to children of God, Rom 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
God knows we have a fallen nature; yet He still provides a way to Him and His eternal family, Ps 103:8, 14, “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.” He came in the form of a man, as an example to us, to experience the temptations and pain we suffer, 1 Cor 10:13, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” He is always working to provide a way for us to escape, if we want it. His plan requires that we believe in Him and accept the fact that we need to be patient enough to allow His timing to play out in this life, Rom 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
In Matthew, God uses divorce to explain how the hardening of our own hearts leads us away from His Word and His plan for our lives, Matt 19:7-8, “They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.” He wants us to understand that when we follow His way we can avoid the pain and sorrows caused by our own selfish choices, which are a result of our ignoring His Word. Divorce is one example and it causes pain and sorrows for everyone involved, the divorcing couple, the children, the parents and friends who love them. It is particularly sad because it is avoidable. God asks us to treat marriage as a joining of flesh, the eye cannot say to the hand, “I no longer love you, so I want a divorce”, 1 Cor 12:21, “And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.” When we understand this, we learn to live together and divorce is no longer needed. This is how all of God’s principles work. We must first learn of His love for us, then we learn to love Him and His Word; and it changes our lives, 1 Jn 4:19, “We love him, because he first loved us.” and Jn 14:15, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”
We can create all kinds of excuses for not reasoning with His Word, for not believing in His Word, and for not believing in Him. But, all of these excuses are merely our hollow attempts to somehow justify our willing ignorance, Eph 4:17-18, “This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:” Our ignorance will not save us on the day of judgment, Jn 12:48, “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day”, we will have already judged ourselves to live this life only, giving up the eternal life He invites us enjoy.
He never asks us to blindly accept what He tells us, but rather asks us to reason with Him, Is 1:18, “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” He already knows what will happen when we come to His Word with an open mind, a questioning mind. We will see the truth for what it is, rather than the lies people tell us it is, Jn 8:31-32, “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” We will be free from the dilemma we seek to avoid and finally able to make the decision we were created to make.
We can see this choice as a dilemma, or we can accept Jesus as our savior and begin the transformation process, which will lead us to His eternal family, Rom 12:2, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
Comments, opposing opinions and suggestions for future topics are all welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.