The Preacher’s Pulpit                          Dr. Joe Tims

TEXT:  Prov 14:12

SUBJ: You Are Who You Are

Introduction:
Our age tends to blur distinctions and throw everything into a "gray area" . . . but in the Scriptures matters are rather more black or white.

In the world there are good people and there are bad people: those who lovingly obey their God and those who stubbornly reject Him.
 
It is worth asking how people get to be the way they are.

I.    OUR CHARACTERS ARE THE ACCUMULATION OF THE DECISIONS WE HAVE MADE
    
(Prov 20:11 KJV)  "Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right."

A.    When we are dissatisfied with our present state in life, it is tempting to blame circumstances beyond our control

B.    We tend to think we would be better off if we had been "dealt a better hand."

C.    Yet, in all the important ways, we are each the product of decisions that we have made in the freedom of our wills.

1.    We have voluntarily thought, spoken, and done the things that have made us what we are.

2.    Our characters are built up not from our external circumstances, but from what we have chosen to do with those   circumstances.

3.    Contrast Saul with David.
            
(1 Sam 13:14 KJV)  "But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the LORD hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the LORD hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the LORD commanded thee."

(1 Sam 15:28 KJV)  "And Samuel said unto him, The LORD hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee this day, and hath given it to a neighbour of thine, that is better than thou."

D.    Mark it well: David was better than Saul because he had made better choices, not because he had better circumstances.

E.    We need to accept responsibility for what we have made of ourselves.

1.    We are what we have chosen to be.

2.    We are self-made persons. (Unfortunately, the self-made person, as someone has said, is often the product of unskilled labor!)

3.    We reap what we sow - Gal. 6:7.

F.    Decisions and choices have a cumulative effect -- they tend to "snowball."

1.    Even "little" choices are more significant than we might think.

2.    Every decision and every act change a person for better or worse -- one is never exactly the same after making any choice.
3.    With every one of even the slightest deeds, we are building up a character and a self that will find it progressively more easy to act in certain ways and more difficult to act in others.

G.    None of us is standing still.

H.    With every choice we are becoming more like God or more like Satan.  

II.    IT SHOULD BE SOBERING TO THINK THAT EVERY ACT COUNTS

A.    God will take every act into account in His judging of our lives.

B.    No decision is too small to be significant.
       
(Mat 12:36 KJV)  "But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment."

C.    As children on the playground, we may have said "That didn't count" or "I had my fingers crossed" -- but when God judges our lives, no such excuses will be accepted.

D.    We may think we are merely being careless or haphazard, but the consequences of our choices are eternal and we are responsible for them.

E.    "Sooner or later, we must all sit down to a banquet of consequences" (Robert Louis Stevenson).

III.    IT SHOULD ALSO BE ENCOURAGING TO THINK THAT EVERY ACT COUNTS

A.    We can never truly say that our lives are helpless and hopeless -- we can do something that will alter our situation for the better.

B.    In spiritual matters, there is really no such thing as a "stalemate."

C.    We can make choices that will truly alter the present situation.

D.    We can act in the faith that steps in the direction of goodness and truth, however small and seemingly insignificant, do make a difference.

E.    God does not require larger steps of righteousness than we can manage, only small steps taken in faith.

F.    God is not looking for people who can do everything, but for those who are willing to do what they can!

Conclusion:

Life is serious business -- it pays to live carefully

Let us be sobered by the fact that each action reaches into eternity, and take responsibility for the bad choices we have made.

On the other hand, let us be encouraged knowing that we can make a difference for good even in "small" acts of faith.

In all things, let us be grateful for the opportunity to make better choices today.

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