“Where was Jaron?”
That is a question that was asked by my friends quite often during my 20s. You see, I had a way of easing the tension in a room when opposing egos clashed, but my introverted nature kept me at home more times than not.
So, when I wasn’t there, “Where was Jaron?” often followed the aftermath of the previous night’s events. Things got to a point where I began to weigh the risks vs. rewards of a night out with my friends. And although I typically prevented drama, I knew that my group’s tendencies would one day bring me unnecessary burdens. I avoided future regret by forecasting the consequences of a night out and choosing to stay home.
I didn’t always forecast the consequences at the right time. Like everyone else, I have a list of regrets that were once avoidable moments. A few that come to mind are quitting a good job because I had a bad day, playing in a tournament with a compromised ACL, and not giving someone their “flowers” while they were still living. The last one carries more remorse than the others.
During last weekend’s message, Lead Pastor Ben Snyder told us that instead of making assumptions, we should forecast the consequences of our choices. In other words, begin with the end in mind, because that’s what will help us in the moment. He added, “Anything outside of God’s plan for you and me will lead us further away from life. It leads us toward death.”
There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.
13 “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. 14 But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.
Those verses remind us to honestly think about what we do next. We need to ask if deception is at play just as the serpent deceived Eve. Be aware that any moment can wear the mask of feeling good and looking right.
Despite our best intentions, eventually, we will mess up because it’s part of being human. However, God doesn’t burden us to carry our regret from the consequences alone. God walks with us, and when we try to hide, he finds us time and time again. He doesn’t judge us by our worst mistakes. No, God talks to us. He reminds us that it could’ve been avoided if we had anticipated the end, but he is there to love us, even through the disaster. He is the champion who invites us to carry his victory instead of our regret.
Do you think about the consequences of your actions? How often do you place God at the center of your decision-making? What is the difference in the outcomes when God is at the center versus you?
If people are pulling you away from God, make a conscious effort to move back toward him by placing him at the center of your life and choices each day. Start the day by reading your Bible and praying. Live life with other Christians, and find an accountability partner. Weigh the wants vs. the needs of your decisions.
Father God, thank you for each day I have because it provides an opportunity to move toward the purpose you have in store for my life. Continue to place God-loving and human-loving people in my life. May I be reminded that the consequences of my poor actions aren’t a coincidence, but the regret from them doesn’t have to hold me in place. There is an opportunity to learn, grow, and love as you have intended. Amen.
This post was written by Jaron Camp, a regular contributor to the LivingItOut Bible Study.
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