In 1955 Rosa Parks made history when she refused to sit at the back of a bus. She had the courage to stand up for her rights, and she walked into the pages of history. More than four decades later, she received the Congressional Gold Medal.
Rosa Parks had a strong Christian faith. Writing in her autobiography, Quiet Strength, she said, “Prayer and the Bible became a part of my everyday thoughts and beliefs. I learned to put my trust in God and to seek Him as my strength. . . . I believe in church and my faith, and that has helped to give me the strength and courage to live as I did.”
Think of the influence of one woman who refused to be pushed to the back of a bus. And think of others who have made history because they stood up for what is right and what is true.
As author and minister Edward Everett Hale once stated, “I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.”
Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless” (Matthew 5:13 NLT).
One godly individual in the darkest situation can make a big difference.
Often, however, we’re not happy with where we are. We’re not happy with the neighborhoods we live in, the jobs we have, or the people around us. Yet does it ever occur to us that God has placed us where we are for a reason?
You may be the only Christian in your sphere of influence right now. You may be the only follower of Jesus Christ that others will see.
In the Old Testament we find the account of Esther, who won a beauty contest and became the queen of Persia. But she hadn’t revealed to her husband, King Ahasuerus, that she was Jewish. And when a wicked man named Haman hatched a plot to execute all the Jews, Esther was oblivious to it because she lived in the comfort of the palace.
So her cousin Mordecai brought it to her attention and told her, “Don’t think for a moment that because you’re in the palace you will escape when all other Jews are killed. If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?” (Esther 4:13–14 NLT).
Esther took courageous action as a result, and God used her to save the lives of her people.
Then there was Moses. Through his godliness and personal integrity, he effectively prevented 2.5 million people from turning full tilt to idolatry.
The Bible simply describes him as “Moses, the man of God” (see Deuteronomy 33:1; Joshua 14:6; 1 Chronicles 23:14; 2 Chronicles 30:16; Ezra 3:2 NLT). What greater compliment could be paid to someone than to be described that way?
Hebrews 11 gives us a flyover of Moses’s life: “It was by faith that Moses, when he grew up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to share the oppression of God’s people instead of enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin. He thought it was better to suffer for the sake of Christ than to own the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking ahead to his great reward” (verses 24–26 NLT).
We learn from these verses that Moses made important decisions at the beginning of his life.
Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, had given a decree that all the Hebrew baby boys should be put to death. But Moses’s mother saved his life and put him into a waterproof basket that she placed on the Nile River. Pharaoh’s daughter found the basket with Moses inside and took him into her home, raising him as her own son. Moses effectively was the prince of Egypt.
Now, if he had played his cards right, Moses potentially could have become the next pharaoh. But as the writer of Hebrews pointed out, when Moses grew up, he “refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter” (11:25 NLT).
Moses was at a fork in the road. He was raised in the palace, living in the lap of luxury. But he wanted to be with God’s people. So he simply refused. He gave something up. In fact, he gave up a lot. He made a great sacrifice and took a principled stand in his life.
Like Moses, we all will come to forks in the road, which then lead to other forks in the road. These pivotal moments in our lives can make all the difference in how we end up.
And know this: The evening of your life is determined by the morning of it. The end of your life is determined by the beginning. How important it is to make the right decisions.
A good example of this is Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, three young Hebrew teenagers who took a principled stand when the Babylonians carried them away captive. They were brought into the king’s court to be trained and schooled in the ways of Babylon.
But along with their friend Daniel, they refused to eat the food from the king’s table. We don’t know the reason, but it seemed to be on the basis of their commitment to God. And God honored them for it.
Later when King Nebuchadnezzar erected a 90-foot-tall golden image and told everyone to worship it, including Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, they refused to bow. The principled stand they made earlier gave them the courage to do what they did.
If you’re young, you’re making decisions now that will affect you for the rest of your life. And ultimately, you’ll face the consequences of your earlier choices.
Choices really do matter. You make your choices, and your choices make you.
Learn more about Pastor Greg Laurie.
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This article was originally published at WND.com.