What does God say about our dilemma?
The Bible is a beautiful tapestry, with many threads woven through it, one of those threads being the truth about our perceived 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 and keeps us from God, Ps 10:4, "The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts." When we swallow our pride and leave room for the possibility of God's existence, we are led 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.” Reasoning will eventually lead us to accept Jesus as our Savior, signaling the beginning of our transition away from willfully sinning, 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,” Willfully remaining in our sins is evidence we have not truly accepted Jesus as our Savior, Matt 7:21, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” Accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior does not mean we are immediately made perfect. Instead, it is the beginning of the process God calls sanctification, 2 Thes 2:13, "But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:" Since we are unable to reach perfection on our own, Jesus will complete the sanctification process at our resurrection, 1 Cor 15:52, "In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed."
God is creating His eternal family, and He is looking for volunteers. These volunteers will be healed and live for eternity as part of His family, Matt 13:15, "For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them." Willfully remaining in our sins will automatically disqualify us as volunteers since it proves we do not yet love God. We have this life to reason with God and learn what it means to be a volunteer, thus changing our dilemma into the choice He is offering. The choice is this life only or this life and eternity with God.
Understanding sin might help. God has offered us a way that leads to His peace and joy, Jn 14:27, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” God’s peace comes from our living the fruit of the Spirit, Gal 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” When we are living this way, we no longer need laws. Living any other way leads us away from God and can be defined as sinning. So, God's volunteers will be willing to live the fruit of the Spirit for all eternity. We will choose this because we love Him and each other.
When we know God’s true nature, we can accept His help in overcoming our selfishness. Accepting Jesus as our Savior leads us to selflessness, and our dilemma changes back into the choice God offered initially. 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, which frees us from the chains of our dilemma. The same freedom we used in the Garden of Eden to allow sin into our lives can lead 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.” This means we live in the flesh, but after the Spirit, we put God and His righteousness first, Matt 6:33, "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."
God created us and knows we are lost without Him, 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.” So, He sent Jesus, in the form of a man, to show us how to deal with the sins of this world. He wants us to understand that the pain and suffering of this world are a small price to pay for the creation of His eternal family, 1 Pet 5:10, “But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.” and Rom 8:18, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” His plan provides a way for us to escape to eternity. To access His plan, we must believe in Him and accept the fact that we need to be patient enough to allow His timing to work out, 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.” We can’t walk away from Him every time something bad happens.
In Matthew, God uses divorce to explain how the hardening of our hearts leads us away from His Word and toward the creating of our own laws, 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 uses Mark to tell us the many laws we have created are not from Him, Mk 7:7-9, "Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition." He further explains this problem in Matthew 5, in the "you have heard it said" verses.
God wants us to understand we can avoid the pain and sorrows caused by our own selfish choices, which result from ignoring His Word. Divorce is just one example of the dilemma we have created; it causes pain and sorrow for everyone involved, the divorcing couple, the children, the parents, and the friends who love them. It is particularly sad because it is avoidable. God tells us to treat marriage as a joining of flesh, Gen 2:24, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” one flesh that should not be separated, 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 the option of divorce is no longer needed. This is how all of God’s principles work. We must first believe He loves us, so we can learn His advice is for our benefit 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.” and Jn 14:21, “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.” Eventually, we learn to love our spouse, allowing the waves of selflessness to dissolve away the conflicts that lead to divorce, Jn 22:39, “And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”
We can create all kinds of excuses for not reasoning with His Word, for not believing in Him. Some say the works of the religious have driven them away from Christ. Jesus had the same problem with the religious leaders of His day. Allowing others' evil to keep us from reasoning with His Truth; is only an excuse. And, all of our excuses are merely hollow attempts to somehow justify our willful 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 sentenced ourselves to this life only, giving up the eternal life He invites us to enjoy.
God already knows what will happen when we come to His Word with an open mind, a questioning mind. Honestly reasoning with His Word, lifts the veil of our ignorance, and frees us to see the truth for what it is, rather than the lies some 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 can finally make the correct decision. If we just read five pages a day, we will finish the Bible in a year. The year will pass, whether we read those five pages or not. However, if we do read them, we will come to know the truth, and it will set us free, Jn 8:32, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
We can see the choice God has given us as a dilemma, or we can reason with our Creator and begin the transformation process, which leads 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.”
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