Decisions Determine Destiny: Past the Point of No Return

Too many people are stuck in the valley of indecision. Indecisive about following Christ, they straddle the fence and have one foot in the church and one foot in the world. This lack of commitment leads to a life of compromise and mediocrity. Jesus cautioned, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God” (Lk. 9:62, RSV). We are called to sell out for the cause of Christ.

Perhaps you’ve heard the story about the pig and the hen which were walking along the road. They saw a church sign that posted the sermon topic, “What can we do to help the poor?” The hen suggested that they provide bacon and eggs. The pig thought for a moment and protested, “Wait a minute, for you that’s only a donation, but for me it requires total commitment!” That’s exactly what God wants from us—total commitment.

Wikipedia explains, “The point of no return is the point beyond which someone must continue their current course of action, either because turning back is physically impossible, or because to do so would be too expensive or dangerous. The term originated as a technical term in air navigation to refer to the point on a flight at which, due to fuel consumption, a plane is no longer capable of returning to its airfield of origin. After passing the point of no return, the plane has no option but to continue to some other destination. In this sense, the phrase implies an irrevocable commitment . . . Another aviation use is the point during the takeoff roll when there is no longer enough runway ahead of the plane to safely stop; at this point the aircraft is committed to taking off.”

At the point of no return, pilots have to make a critical decision—turn back now or go all the way. Every Christian must make a similar selection. Decisions determine our destiny. Destiny is not a matter of chance, but a matter of choice! Jesus issued this stern warning—“Remember Lot’s wife” (Lk. 17:32). Lot’s family, you recall, was being escorted by angels out of Sodom when his wife turned back. God provided an escape route, but she refused to take it. This was not just a curious glance over her shoulder to see what was happening. She was so enamored with sin city that she looked back with a longing to return. Consequently, she was turned into a pillar of salt and preserved in her rebellion. This is a vivid reminder for us once we are saved not to turn back to the world.

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Once we determine to follow Christ, we can’t afford to waver in our commitment. Once we are saved, we must stay saved. Once we are freed from sin, we must remain free. Once God ignites His fire in our hearts, we must maintain the flame. The old-time preachers used to say, “It’s sink or swim, hot or cold, live or die, all the way or nothing.” We need to decide once and for all that we are going all the way with God. Get past the point of no return and never look back. The Bible demands of us a decision:

  • Joshua issued an ultimatum, “Choose you this day whom ye will serve” (Josh. 24:15, KJV).
  • Elijah challenged ancient Israel, “How long will you waver between two opinions?” (1 Kgs. 18:21, NIV).
  • Jesus insisted, “No one can serve two masters . . . you cannot serve both God and money” (Mt. 6:24, NLT).
  • Paul declared, “Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind” (Rom. 14:5, KJV).
  • James informed us, “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways” (Jam. 1:8).
  • Jesus advised, “I wish that you were cold or hot” (Rev. 3:16, NASB).

Joshua’s determination to serve God is legendary. He was one of the original twelve spies Moses sent to scout the land of Canaan. He served Moses faithfully for over forty years and became the captain of Israel’s army. Then, he led the Israelites during the conquest of Canaan. At his farewell address, he passed the baton of leadership and his words still inspire us today, “But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Josh. 24:15). No indecision there. Only total commitment to the cause.

Most Christians know the popular song I Have Decided to Follow Jesus. Wikipedia tells the remarkable story behind it:

The lyrics are based on the last words of a man in Assam, India, whose family was converted to Christianity by a Welsh missionary in the 1800’s. The man, his wife and their two children professed faith in Christ and were baptized. The village leaders wanted to make an example out of him, so they arrested the whole family and demanded that he renounce Christ or see his wife and kids murdered. When he refused, his two children were executed by archers. Given another chance to recant, the man again refused, and his wife was also struck down. Still refusing to recant, the man followed his family into glory as a martyr.

Witnesses later told the story to the Welsh missionary. The reports said that when asked to recant or see his children murdered, the man said, ‘I have decided to follow Jesus, and there is no turning back.’ After seeing his children killed, he reportedly said, ‘The world can be behind me, but the cross is still before me.’ And after seeing his wife pierced by the arrows, he said, ‘Though no one is here to go with me, still I will follow Jesus.’ This display of bold faith led to the conversion of the chief and many others in that village.

Years later, an American hymn editor, William Reynolds, composed a new arrangement of the song that became a regular feature of Billy Graham’s evangelistic meetings. “I have decided to follow Jesus . . . no turning back.” Another verse declares, “Take this whole world, just give me Jesus . . . .”

Friend, it’s high time to move past the point of no return once and for all and never look back!

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

Ben Godwin, B.Th., began preaching at age thirteen and has been in full-time ministry since 1987. He pastors the Goodsprings Full Gospel Church near Birmingham, Alabama, and has authored four books. He produces a weekly TV program, The Word Workshop, and writes a newspaper column and articles for other publications. Ben and his wife, Michelle, have three children and reside in Goodsprings, Alabama.

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