“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.” (Galatians 6:7-8)
Sometimes we get our circumstances and our consequences confused ….
Circumstances are events beyond our control, resulting from forces or influences we did not cause and cannot change. Some of these circumstances are what we might call trials: painful circumstances allowed by God in order to transform our conduct and our character ….
Losing a loved one, struggling with cancer, a friend betrays a trust, being rear-ended at an intersection; these are examples of trials and circumstances …..
However, consequences are life events and experiences that result wholly or in part from what we ourselves have done: what we’ve said, places we’ve gone, priorities we’ve pursued, choices we’ve made, impulsive behavior, or even errors in judgment. Basically, in a nutshell, bad decisions ….
In order to understand the effects of bad decisions, it’s important to first establish what we mean by bad decisions:
The definition is this: a bad decision is one in which you override your senses and choose an option, that at some level, you know you should not. So one very important aspect of decision making is always praying for wisdom and discernment before jumping impulsively into an action ….
Examples of the effects or consequences of bad decisions consists of some or all of the following:
The individual compromises themselves, they don’t get what they actually want, or perhaps they do get what they want but at the expense of others, anxiety, distress and guilt, physical symptoms such as aches and pains, having to learn lessons the hard way, time and energy wasted, and the most insidious and damaging effect is a wasted life!
Unfortunately, not all bad decisions are major ones. We can learn great and valuable lessons from consequences. People compromise themselves in a myriad of ways every single day. It might be by saying yes when you’d rather say no, doing things that you don’t want to be doing, making decisions so other people will think well of you, or spending time with people you don’t want to be with or around. All these things are examples of poor choices and consequences that result from them ….
Generally making decisions so others can feel good or will benefit, yet you have to sacrifice in some way, is not always going to feel good, however these decisions God can and will honor. By allowing others to treat you poorly, or letting others make decisions so you’re living the life they want you to live are classic examples of poor boundaries, which will ultimately lead to negative consequences ….
How many of these have you done yourself in the last week? Today even?
Everything that God commends in Scripture: those things we’re told to do, things we’re taught to esteem as good; He commends these for our blessing, and He makes sure blessings comes to us from choosing them. Especially when we choose to bless someone else at the expense of ourselves. But everything that He forbids in Scripture comes with a painful consequence. Why? Well, simply to give us a glimpse of the wisdom behind the command. Or, as I’m fond of saying: to obey. Yes, it’s all about obedience. And when God says “don’t” to us, what He means is “don’t hurt yourself” and we are hurt when consequences result from our bad decisions or impulsive actions. Just one example would be, when we choose to sin; when we sin: we choose to suffer. We suffer consequences as a result of rebellion and disobedience …..
It’s the law of sowing and reaping…. “Whatever one sows, that which they reap”
And it’s important that we know the difference. It’s important to know if what’s happening in our lives is a circumstance or a consequence, because the Bible gives us different instructions for handling either …..
When you are dealing with a trial or circumstance; the faithful response is to wait, watch, and endure. The Old Testament character Job said, “when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” (Job 23:10).
We’re to wait on the Lord, allowing the ordeal to make us more like Christ. It will teach and train us, making us more dependent on Him as we become more trusting, humble, and usable in His service. We’re to persevere through trials by faith, knowing they’ve been allowed by a good God who is ultimately making “all things work together for the good” for those who love Him and are “called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28); and yes, even the purpose behind the circumstance .
But a lot of what we consider trials and circumstances are actually consequences. And you don’t endure consequences. They are a result or outcome, one in which you must repent of what caused them ….
The only door out of the hallway of consequence is repentance. Changing your mind. Whatever you’ve become so adept at rationalizing and so invested in explaining away; you simply just come to the place where you finally say, “It’s not acceptable and I’m not doing it anymore. It’s wrong, that’s what God has said about it and I’m not making excuses for it any longer. I repent. I’m done with this” …… That’s when the grace falls.
That’s when the lesson is learned. And most assuredly, that is when the change is experienced. Change always results from a repentant heart ….
“Ye have plowed wickedness” God said through the prophet Hosea, “ye have reaped iniquity; ye have eaten the fruit of lies” (Hosea 10:13). But there’s a solution for those who have sown to the flesh and reaped the consequences
“Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till He come and rain righteousness upon you.” (Hosea 10:12).
Now listen;. what’s in the ground is in the ground. There’s nothing you can do about last year’s harvest, (yesterday’s mistakes), but there’s a whole lot you can do about this year’s harvest; in other words: Today. And you can start doing it right now, right this very second …..
Think about an example of a trial or circumstance you’ve endured? How did you respond to it, and how did it affect your relationship with the Lord? What about a consequence that you’ve experienced? How do you think you might could have come about it better by seeking God first?
I want to encourage you to begin to examine yourselves to see where you may be making decisions based on self, instead of God’s Word. I challenge you this week to seek out the Lord first and begin applying wisdom and discernment before you make any decisions ….
“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” (Galatians 6:9-10)
Let us pray ~
Lord, thank You for making Your Word permanent and unchangeable. Thank You for establishing principals that can never be refuted, abolished, or used against me. Your Word holds me steady, anchors me from straying off the path, and promises me blessings I cannot contain if I choose to simply walk in agreement with You.
I confess Lord, that I have needed consequences to motivate me toward obedience, but I am learning more each day to make better decisions, and set up healthier boundaries. I am so grateful that You love me enough not to let me get away with what hurts me. I surrender my will to You again anew today my Lord. Guide me through this day and help me to do Your will and what will honor You the most. In Jesus name, I do pray, amen ……