HOW CAN I KNOW?
``But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, ... '' (Gal. 5:22)
``For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;'' (Eph. 5:9)
How many times have you asked yourself, ``How can I know if I am making the right (or even a right) choice?'' I ask myself that question far too often. There is an answer, and the answer is in the fruit of the choice.
Did your choice bring peace in your life? Did your choice make your faith stronger? Is your choice evidence of faith or of fear? These are simple questions, but the answers to what we should do in most situations lie there.
If our decisions are made in the Spirit, then the fruit of the Spirit will be evident in those decisions. That's a pretty big ``if'', because often there is no ``wrong'' choice exactly, and many times there seems to be no ``right'' choice. Stepping out on faith is something all of us would like to believe we have done or would do, but sometimes that is a pretty big step.
It is true that Peter walked on the water for a very few minutes. And while he kept his eyes fastened on Jesus, he walked in the Spirit. Then the Spirit brought him both peace and joy, and he was buoyed up in the waves. But when he let fear in, faith fled and he sank like a rock. Now it was not wrong at all for Peter to ask to come to Jesus on the water, nor would it have been wrong for him to stay in the boat with the others. What was wrong was that after he asked and was committed, he looked away and decided that what God had made possible was actually impossible, so that it became so. He sank under the weight of fear. Fear and faith can not occupy the same mind-one will rule. Where there is fear, faith is always absent. Where there is faith, fear waits just at the edges of the windows of our mind, trying to distract us.
We have to remember that we have been given the Spirit of a sound mind (2 Tim 1:7). We have the power to know that we have made a right choice if we listen to the Spirit who lives within us and gives us the power of a sound mind. After that a teaching of Jesus applies: ``No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God'' (Luke 9:62). Once we find the course that we are to walk, we have to keep going, to press on toward the mark and to not look back. It's the ``what ifs'' that kill faith, and Satan has ten or more stored up for every decision we might make. (Have no fear of that!)
How do I know that I made the right choice? Look at the fruit it bore.
File translated from TEX by TTH, version 3.01.On 4 Jul 2004, 00:31.