The path our life takes is determined simply—by our choices. Sometimes choices, like whether to go to church this morning or not, seem small and insignificant but have long-reaching, even eternal, consequences. Others appear dramatic and life-changing at the point of decision, like what to major in at college, but later prove to be merely passing scenery when we look back along the path our lives have taken.
So how do we know which decisions are the important ones? Often we only find that out in hindsight. So what do we do? How can we insure that we are where we are supposed to be, doing what we are supposed to be doing?
We can choose to put our trust in Jesus. It is the one choice that will affect all our other choices. When we choose to follow Jesus, to put our faith in Him both as our Savior from all our sins and failures, and as the Lord of our lives, He breathes His Holy Spirit into us. From that moment on, we have a Guide to help us make good choices, to direct us along the best path—if we will just listen and obey.
For that first choice, the choice to trust Jesus, leads to daily choices of whether to follow Him or not. He doesn’t make us robots or even well-trained dogs that obey automatically. He continues to give us freedom of choice—in the big decisions and in the tiny ones.
God’s greatest desire is what is best for us, but he doesn’t force it on us. We must decide if we trust Him enough to obey Him. But how can we know for sure what choice is God’s choice?
In Confirmation classes my husband teaches that in the United Methodist Church, there is a principle called the Wesley Quadrilateral. John Wesley believed the core of the Christian faith is illuminated for the believer by (1) Scripture, (2) tradition, (3) reason, and (4) experience.
“Scripture is considered the primary source and standard for Christian doctrine. Tradition is the witness of development and growth of the faith in the past. Experience is the individual's understanding and appropriating of the faith in the light of his or her own life. Reason is the discerning and cogent thought an individual Christian brings to bear on the Christian faith.” (Source: A Dictionary for United Methodists, Alan K. Waltz, Copyright 1991, Abingdon Press.)
It seems to me that Wesley’s Quadrilateral is a great avenue that the Holy Spirit can use to speak to us about our choices. When we cover each of these areas with intentional, focused prayer, we can rest assured that God is guiding our choices.
©2016 Pamela D. Williams