This September marked the beginning of some significant changes in my work as a physician. The changes would involve, as always, choices. In January, I decided I wanted to leave an administrative post and return to patient care. In August, I was asked to be the executive director of Vision of Hope beginning in September. The result was that I am currently working for Hendricks Regional Health in Brownsburg in their immediate care, and I am settling in as the executive director at VOH. Getting there involved lots of choices.
One part of my duties at VOH includes the privilege of teaching the residents principles from scripture that will help them as they grow in their walk with the Lord. On Monday mornings, we have covered subjects such as purpose and motive for the Christian, and how to handle worry, from Philippians chapter four.
This past Monday we looked at Romans 12:1-3 in order to discuss how to make good decisions as a Christian. Paul said the following:
“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Rom 12:1-2 NAU)
I shared four principles out of those verses with the residents on Monday about how we make decisions. I told them I thought that if we follow them, we could avoid making really bad decisions. The principles might not help in getting from good to better to best in our decisions, but they could help us avoid disasters.
Is this a sacrifice to God or me?
The first principle comes from verse one where Paul tells us to offer our lives as a living sacrifice to God. It comes as a question. Is this choice that I will make, or this action that I will do, going to be a sacrifice to God or to me? Choices that are selfishly made in our interest will almost always turn out poorly. Paul would tell the Corinthians that ‘No one should seek his own good first, but the good of others.” (I Corinthians 10:24}
Will this choice conform me or transform me?
The second principle is found in verse two where Paul tells us not be “conformed to this world, but transformed.” The question we must ask ourselves is, will this choice or action transform my life more into Christ’s image or will it be conforming to make me more like the world? This will apply to most every aspect of our lives as believers. It will include things such as where we get our education, where we work, how we choose to spend our leisure time and how we spend our money. Choices that result in our conforming to the world almost never turn out well.
Will this choice renew my mind or pollute it?
The third principle is seen when Paul tells us that we should renew our minds – a process that grows out of our consistent study and meditation on His word. The question is, will this choice or action renew my mind or pollute it. This is particularly useful when it comes to the things that we watch, read, or listen to. Movies, books and music should be chosen because they contain spiritually useful information. They should be avoided when they are the extension of current Hollywood social sewage.
Will I look like I am doing God’s will or just acting like everyone else?
The fourth principle is seen when Paul tells us that the whole point of the sacrifice is that we could prove or show what God’s will is to an unsaved world. The question is, when I make this choice or action will my neighbors be able to tell that I am doing God’s will, or will they think I am just acting like everyone else? How we conduct our business, how we live with our neighbors, how we spend our free time, along with many other choices reflect on our Lord. He intends for us to live in a way that our light shines out His gospel.
A Choice I Made
I had to make a number of choices this year as I moved from one employer to another and it took nearly eight months to get it done. But, early on, the decision was made on the basis of that first and fourth principle. I had to choose between two hospital systems. The one wanted me to work every other Sunday from 8am to 8pm. The other (the ‘winner’) told me that I would have to work one weekend a month, but that their immediate care did not open until noon on Sunday. The director there told me that, years ago when they started, the physicians involved stated that they wanted to go church on Sunday, so they wouldn’t open until noon.
So, I made my choice.