A Tough Choice

This morning I read the story of Yousef Nadarkhani, a Iranian pastor who finds himself facing death.  In 2009 Yousef was arrested for his Christian beliefs.  Since then he has been facing the tough choice of either recanting his faith or dying for his faith.  Those who know Yousef best are saying, “No way.  Since 1990 Yousef has followed Christ and he will not stop following now.”

Question, “What tough choices doe you face today?”  There are many illustrations I could give at this point, but let’s consider the word of the Lord.  “Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God.”  I Peter 4:1-2

Certainly it is a tough decision when you are faced with the choice of going with human passions or the will of God.  Daily we face this tough choice, but for those who have tasted of Christ and are pursuing Christ the things of the world have no value.  Certainly most who read this today have heard this before, but I wonder, “have you really experienced the value of the will of God?”

The will of God will not be pursued or even seen as valuable apart from God’s mercy in opening our eyes to see and our ears to hear.  This morning I was so amazed by this fact as I read Luke 8:10 “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God; but for others they are in parables, so that seeing they may not see and hearing they may not understand.”

Brothers and sisters, oh what grace that has been given so we can stand in the liberty of Christ.  We have been liberated from the tough choice.  We know the value of the will of God.  We understand why the Iranian pastor cannot recant his faith.  We as he know the value of our faith and it is more precious than our own earthly life.

But at the same moment, I realize, if not for the grace of God I would slip back into a pursuit of human passions.  It is He who keeps me focused and it is He who empowers me to walk a disciplined life.  This day I am thankful for so many things in my faith.

I want to encourage you to do several things this weekend:  1) Pray for Yousef.  May our Lord grant him the resolve to be a light in this dark moment.  2) Take honest inventory of your daily decisions.  Do you find human passion governing your life or is it the will of God?  3) Ask God to speak powerfully to you in worship on Sunday.  4) Pray for your pastor that God would speak powerfully through him.  5)  Pray for the souls of men and women everywhere.

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