Pick One

Ever agonized over entrees in a “pick two” option from a restaurant menu?

What should you get?

A salad and soup? A sandwich and baked potato? Or a salad and some mac & cheese?

(The dizzying choices leads to some high factorial beyond the scope of this post.)

But what about choosing both right and wrong, good and bad?

Psychological distinctions aside, we are often presented with a set of actions, both good and bad, to act upon as outgrowths of our thoughts. The Good Book has much to say about our dilemma.

“As a man thinks, so he is . . .” and we can practice “deeds of the flesh . . .” or live by the “fruit of the spirit.”

When Jesus Christ said we are our thoughts, I presume he meant at least two things: namely, our thoughts predetermine our actions, and just as much, He implies, to check our pride, that by thinking sinful thoughts, one is just as guilty as the one who acts out.

Point in instance, He refers in a parable to two men offering sacrifices at the altar, one man a tax collector, the other, a Pharisee. The tax collector beats his breast with guilt, shame, and remorse, as he asks for forgiveness for wrongful acts.

Meanwhile, the Pharisee turns to the tax collector and judges him. He thinks, “at least my sins aren’t as grievous as the tax collector.”

In this instance, the Pharisee has only sinned in thought. But which is the graver sin? At least the tax collector asks for forgiveness.

This returns us to our dilemma. How do we check our darker nature, be it in thought or deed? Praying and meditating on Christ’s teachings and Paul’s instruction in Galatians 5:13-26 have served as a model for millennia.

Asking for intercession and striving for good, in particular the “Fruit of the Spirit” of which Galatians 5 speaks, can mean the difference between meaningful and fractured relations, either drawing us closer or farther from others and God.

That said, the time honored practice of renewing our minds with God’s Word and praying for intercession may run counter culture, but if practiced, comes with God’s promise: “for the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”

Isn’t that motive enough to pick just one, Jesus Christ?

Posted in Perspective, Uncategorized