I’m developing my theology, largely from the bible teaching I’ve been given and in how I understand the scripture texts. The central troublesome issue as a young Christian it seems to me is that of “choices”. Everything in my life gets affected in one way or another as a result of the choices I make.
This is not complicated, but, even at eighteen years of age I realise how hard it is to live up to the challenges of “choice”. From what I have understood of Scriptures, somewhere before man was created by God, a choice was made, it was the first offence against God and it took place in the heavenlies.
Isaiah tells us it was one of the heavenly beings named Lucifer. For reasons beyond my full comprehension, Lucifer, even after witnessing the splendour and might of God in all His glory, chose to usurp His authority. I perceive that Lucifer could have appreciated the consequences of this coup. It seems to me that Lucifer was naïve at the very least.
The end result of this choice was that Lucifer found himself thrown out of what we might refer to as God’s heavenly place, and following through the Scriptures, ultimately an eternity spent in what is described as a 'lake of fire'. This was not a good start, and so when man was created in the image of God, there came a situation where another choice was presented.
Working through the choices I make
I’m reconstructing these bible stories as I too am trying to work through the choices I make as a young Christian. When God placed man in the garden, there was a critical instruction: “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” (Genesis 2 verses 16 to 17,
Sounds simple enough, eat whatever you like except from one tree, easy, right? Unfortunately, Lucifer who is also described as Satan, got right to work, sowing the seeds of doubt. I for one get this sort of ‘doubt thing’ all the time. “Did God really say that? You won’t really die.” Eve however seems undeterred by this approach, so he turns to something else: “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3 verse 5.
Seeds of discontent grew and the woman reasoned with herself. “The fruit looks good.” “It can make me wise.” So she took from the tree, and ate. God gave a specific direction to follow, and even that could not be followed! This sounds like me. My fellow young Christians experience this too. Satan knew where to hit. He went straight to the weakest point.
This was a choice. It proved to be a very costly mistake. Rather than following God’s direction, an unfortunate choice was made. This is me all over. I find choices where I can live for God or entirely for myself. My question therefore is: How do I know what true love is? (Love seems to be at the centre of God). What is the greatest love that I can have? “This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (I John 4 verse 10) “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15 verse 13).
How my choices affect my friends and family
Rather than calculating everything on the basis of what I can gain, another option is to ascertain how my choices will affect my friends and family. Choosing to follow the Lord can be considered by those outside the Christian walk as quite abnormal behaviour. It has a different focus and this challenges me each and every day.
It seems to me that selfishness, living for myself alone, creates difficulties for me. I’m find it cumbersome to deny myself. I find it difficult to figure-out what it means to take up the cross of Jesus and live for God. The scary thought is that God respects my decisions. The inevitable conclusion of choosing to live for myself with selfish goals is also quite troubling to my soul, that inner me. And it is such a tall-order to live for God, and I wonder how I can ever possibly ever live up to such a standard?
My conclusion of this is that I’ve learnt to believe the Bible and its good news. I’m young, but I believe that Jesus Christ took my weakness and placed it on the Cross of Calvary and has sent me the Holy Spirit to walk with me each day.
I am comforted by the Scriptures: “It is no longer I who lives, but Christ who lives in me.” This brings much encouragement to me as a young Christian.
Cameron Brooks is 18 years of age and lives in Blenheim New Zealand. Cameron is currently finishing his last year of schooling (home). He lives with his family of seven (he is one of five children).