The big decisions in our life don’t determine our development or our destiny. The little decisions do.
Those little choices set the patterns that determine how we make the big choices. Jesus said, “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much” (Luke 16:10). How we use dimes and dollar bills establishes how we’ll use fifty dollars or ten thousand dollars.
So our little decisions now determine whether, in the end, we are delighted or dejected, delivered or defeated. God is asking us to make the choice ourselves. He isn’t glorified by robots, but by having his highest form of creation submit willingly to him, to do his will. We’ve been given that independence. He isn’t forcing us to obey.
But we flagrantly abuse that independence, don’t we? We do so even when we know what he wants us to do. We are hearers of his word, but not doers.
We know that by submitting to God we’ll be the most fulfilled. We’ll be happy, and we’ll be cared for.
Yet we resist. We submit instead to our hardened hearts.
Of course, not many other people are telling us to follow God. But the majority is not always right. The majority sees only from a human point of view. God’s view is different.
At God’s command (Numbers 13:2), Moses sent twelve men into Canaan to explore the land he was giving to Israel. When they returned, only two of the twelve—Caleb and Joshua—urged the people to follow God’s leading and possess the land he was giving them. The other ten said it couldn’t be done. The majority was wrong.
God’s value system is different from the world’s—in the way to pursue a career, in the use of money, in family values, in social behavior. The world says success is first. But God says he is to be first. The world says to get all the money you can. God says to give. The world says to conform to contemporary lifestyles, but God says to live by convictions from his word.
The world says God is just religion, but God says he wants our devotion.
The writer of Hebrews said that in running the race of life for God, we should “throw off everything that hinders, and the sin that so easily entangles” (Hebrews 12:2). What are the hindrances for us? What has God been bringing to mind?
It could be a wrong lifestyle, or conformity to social pressures, or a wrong emotion or habit. We can take hold of these little pleasures and follow them to our sorrow, or we can drop them and follow Christ.
As Jesus crossed the Kidron Valley and entered Gethsemane, he left behind a popular public ministry to face impending suffering and humiliation. Behind him was life. Ahead, death.
Gethsemane was a garden, a place of olive trees and quietness. But for Jesus it was a place of decision. He entered in agony, but would leave with victory assured. He entered with a group of friends, but would leave as a prisoner in the hands of soldiers.
He didn’t want to die. He prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me.” He cast his feelings on the Lord. But he submitted to his Father: “Not my will, but yours be done.” He was obedient to the divine plan.
We can follow this pattern Jesus gave us in Gethsemane.
For we, too, have decisions to make.