Monday, May 09, 2005

"Then [Moses] said to Him, "If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here." - Exodus 33:15

"No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other." - Luke 16:13

"Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life." - Proverbs 4:23

"That which you do, do it from the heart, as to the Lord and not to men." - Colossians 3:23

"And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance." - 2 Corinthians 9:8

Why do we things? How do Christians make decisions about what to do and what not to do? This is one of those questions that I always come back to, one of the philosophical issues that I really care about. How is it that we are to serve God with our whole heart, to find him wholly sufficient to meet our needs, and yet do things?

Not too long after she got married, Michelle Tumes recorded a song in which she sang, "You're the one, You're the one, one and only love." In the liner notes she amplifies, "It occurred to me this year that God is the only love." This has always struck me as embodying a fairly deep decision-making principle. The principle is this: Above all, our hearts must be invested completely in God. So perhaps we do things because it would be inconsistent with devoting ourselves wholly to God to not do them.

I am speaking here of doing things, or making decisions, which implicate where you place your heart. On this view, the decision-making principle is essentially to avoid idolatry, and there are some activities which pose no risk of that. Whether to watch a movie, where to eat lunch, what to wear today - those are things that I would say usually don't implicate your heart. Sometimes they do, of course - for instance, during my birthday week I intended to watch a series of movies with emotional significance, and I need to be careful which movies I choose and when I watch them. They were chosen specifically because they do implicate my heart. But there are lots of decisions which odn't ordinarily implicate such matters.

And then there are decisiosn which ordinarily do. Some of the ones on my list are going to college, dating a person, and joining a performing group. Those are activities which I think you must devote yourself to body and soul if you are to do them successfully (there is an exception for non-college age people going to college, as I tried to articulate last night to Duchess and Enika). Consequently, on this view of decision-making, there is a problem if you are undertaking them separately from your calling to the Lord rather than as part of it.

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