Making our own choices
Chaplain Bertram Bobb
We are thankful for another year of God’s blessing for the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and friends.
Today, there are many people who seem to have no purpose for living, no motivating challenge.
Jesus Christ doesn’t call us to be bystanders. When a person accepts Jesus Christ as his or her personal Savior, he or she becomes a member of the Body of Christ. It means that you have chosen Jesus Christ and you are following Him.
“Are you a Christian?” I mean a true Christian, a born-again Christian. There are many people who have a wrong idea of what a Christian is. They say, “A Christian is a person who prays.” Christians do pray, but prayer doesn’t make a Christian. Or people say, “A Christian lives by the Golden Rule.” But living by the Golden Rule doesn’t make you a Christian.
A person may be sincere, but that doesn’t make him a Christian. Some people think a Christian is one who keeps the Ten Commandments. Everybody has broken the commandments. We read in the Book of James 2:10: “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.”
If we break one commandment, we have broken them all. That is called “SIN” in the Bible.
Some people say, “A Christian is a person who goes to church.” Yes, a Christian ought to go to church, but attending church doesn’t make one a Christian.
What is a Christian? First, a Christian is a person who has made a choice. Second, a change has taken place in his life. And third, he has accepted a challenge.
Now, I emphasize very briefly these three things.
First, a Christian is a person who has made a choice. All the way through the Bible we are asked to make choices. Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden made the wrong choice. They rebelled against God. They chose to try to rebuild their world without God, and they made a terrible, tragic mistake. We read that record in Genesis 2 and 3. They broke God’s law and passed the results of their disobedience on to Cain and Able, their children, and they have passed the results on to you and to me.
We are all sinners, and we are capable of sin and we all sin.
We have to choose. Read what Jesus said in Matthew 7:13-14: “Enter ye in at the strait gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
He said that only a few people are on the narrow road that leads to heaven. The majority are on a broad road that leads to judgment, destruction and hell. Which road are you on?
It is what you do about Jesus Christ, His cross and His resurrection that counts. If we enter that narrow gate at the cross and say, “Yes, Lord, I believe, I turn from my sins; I am willing to change my ways of living,” we will walk on the narrow road which may be rocky and rough and tough. But at the end will be Heaven. As we walk on that narrow road, God will give us new power, a new love and new joy.
Second, a Christian is a person whose life has been changed. That is done by the Holy Spirit. The moment you receive Jesus Christ, the Spirit of God comes to live in your heart. We read in II Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
Christ is One who does it. He transforms your life, He makes you a new person. Has a change taken place in your life?
Third, a Christian is a person who has accepted a challenge. Jesus said, “…If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24).
In other words, when we deny self, we deny selfish ambitions, we deny selfish, sinful pleasures. Then we turn and take up our cross. What did Jesus mean by that? He is saying that when you go and tell people that you have received Jesus Christ as your personal Savior they may laugh at you. They may make fun of you. Maybe your friends will no longer have anything to do with you. You will have to pay a price.
Some people resist the idea of a choice of any sort. But Jesus taught that there are two roads and you have to choose which road you will take. We cannot travel both roads. Jesus does not allow us to be neutral about Him. Jesus demands that we decide about him.
The Bible teaches that “God is love” (1 John 4:8). He loves you. He is interested in you. He loves you with an everlasting love. (Jeremiah 31:3). And He wants to forgive you. He wants to come into your life and into your home and into your work to help you.
What do you have to do? You have to be willing to say, “God, I am a sinner.” That is repentance. You have to be willing to turn from sin. Then by faith commit your life to Jesus Christ and put Him first from now on. You can pray a prayer something like this: “O God, I am a sinner, I trust Jesus as my Savior.”
God doesn’t make that choice for us. God gave his Son to forgive our sins and to give us eternal life, and He helps us to make the choices by sending His Holy Spirit to convict us. But we make our own choice. God doesn’t make the choice for us. God gave His Son to forgive our sins and to give us eternal life, and He helps us to make the choice by sending His Holy Spirit to convict us. But we make our own choice.
Will you continue to pray for America? Pray for our Chief, Assistant Chief and the Tribal Council members as they lead our Nation. Remember our service men and woman in our armed services.