I went to a church service this last Monday evening. The title of the pastor’s sermon was, “How Did My Life End Up Like This?’ He used the story of Samson in Judges 16 to get the thrust of his message across. Samson’s life ended as it did because of the choices he made along the way. Just as our lives are the way they are because we chose our Delilahs instead of God’s will for our lives.
I got into this message… I’m wondering and seeking God’s guidance through the wilderness and so of course I’m on the edge of my seat anxiously waiting for the punch line… the part of the sermon where God puts feet to His words. The part where He fills me in on how to make better choices to increase favor in His eyes.
The pastor shared with us from a book that he had read about the “fool-proof” question. The author maintains that if we ask ourselves this question when responding to life’s circumstances, we will live fool-proof lives. The pastor divulges the vast number of people he knows who are not living the life of their dreams. He claims it is because they haven’t made it a habit to ask themselves the single most important question as they navigate through life and their choices land them exactly where they are… living a second rate life, just shy of the Land of Promise God has prepared for all of us.
The fool-proof question is found in scripture. Ephesians 5:15-17 instructs:
“Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.”
Is this the wise thing to do? This is the fool-proof question… Is this the wise thing to do?
The author recommends we ask ourselves this question in light of our past, present, and future circumstances. For example:
In light of my past, it is not wise for me to have credit cards. As temptation mounts and unnecessary purchases are made, I’m left with the burden of stressful money matters. Does this mean it isn’t wise for people to have credit cards? No, but it isn’t wise for me. This single personal choice has created financial freedom for me and my family.
In light of my present… When my children were little, I opted to stay at home with them. I felt this was the wise thing for me to do to at the time to build life-long relationships with them. Does this mean all Moms should stay at home and not work? No! Some women can juggle 100 things at a time very effectively. It’s as if they know just how to compartmentalize their energies… so much for work, so much for family, so much for extra-curricular activities, so much for church, and so on. Me… I tend to expend all of my energies in one place. I am very inept at juggling and my efforts would always end in a pile of brokenness. So, staying home was a wise choice for me.
In light of my future, it was the wise choice for me to stay in college, work hard, and earn my teaching degree. I’ve been blessed 1000 fold as a result of this decision.
Back to Samson… He did not ask himself the fool-proof question and his choices ended his life in a very excruciatingly painful death.
As I’m wandering through this wilderness, eagerly anticipating my Promise Land, you can bet I will be posing the question, “Is this the wise thing to do?” If the answer is, “I don’t know.” The pastor encourages us to not do anything until a clear and concise answer is given. I don’t want to be the one who wonders, “How did my life end up like this?” But, rather the one who is bathing in the streams of Living Waters and feasting on the milk and honey promised me by the Great I Am!
Are you with me?! Friends, let us tuck the fool-proof question in our hearts and access it as we navigate through our lives. Let us join forces in prayer for one another as we set forth to make wiser decisions. “And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God.” (Colossians 1:10).