Monday, September 9, 2013

Paying Attention to Your Preferences

This month's newspaper column...

            All of us have our preferences.  The way we live our lives reflects our preferences… The kind of clothes we wear. The kind of car we drive. The way you wear your hair. Preferences.

Dinner in Amman,  Jordan
 A preference is the selecting of someone or something over another. A preference is the right or chance to choose. A preference is the state of being ‘better liked’ or more valued. Our preferences can be summarized by our choices, and oftentimes, we are not even aware of them. Preferences are not necessarily good or bad, but they can have good or bad effects in our lives; as the Bible tells us: we reap what we sow.

A preference is not necessarily a sin. I may prefer a red car or a blue car, and the choice I make is not about sin.  I may want to eat lunch at the steak house or I may want to go home and fix sandwiches. The choice is not about sinning or not sinning. However, we must always keep this in balance with James 4:17 - Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins. (NIV) Just because something is not listed in the Bible as a sin, doesn’t mean it won’t be a sin to you. If God tells you to do something, or not to do something, and you disobey, it is SIN.

Dinner in Amman,  Jordan
Your preferences are not usually about sin, but your preferences can lead to sin, or lead to habits and patterns that keep you from the will of God for your life. Your preferences don’t just affect you personally, but can interfere with the ministry God wants to do in other people’s lives through you.

We choose our preferences or at least we actualize them. Vance Havner wrote: Life is a series of choices between the bad and the good and the best.  Everything depends on which we choose.  Sometimes the alternatives get in each other’s way.  Ultimately, we want to get to the place where we submit our preferences to the Lord! We can ask him to make us aware of what they are, and then see the outcome if we continue on that path.

You may prefer shoes that cost $150, but maybe if you found the right investment, you would prefer to buy a pair of $25 shoes and invest the $125, or maybe you would prefer to buy some shoes for someone who doesn’t have any.  Preferences! 
Dinner in Amman,  Jordan

Preferences are not necessarily sin, but they can limit the blessings of God in and though your life. Preferences are not necessarily sin, but they can close doors which can never be reopened. Submit your preferences to Jesus. He will open your eyes about their ramifications in your life.  Galatians 6:7-8 says: Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. (NIV)

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