I worked with a lady who was sold into marriage by her mother before she was sixteen. She had several siblings, same schooling, same lack of opportunity, but she was the only one who learned how to read and write. She was also the only one who did not accept her mother’s lifestyle of uneducated poverty. She took every opportunity to advance herself, both with on-the-job training and company-provided tuition in her chosen field. To my knowledge, she received a masters degree – and I know her mid-level management position when I met her. She advanced further before retiring, always active in community affairs.
What made the difference in her life, giving her the courage to better herself, that did not exist in her siblings? I don’t know, but I equate this to differences in Christians’ lives.
It’s not simply desire that advances Christians to positions of authority. Obedience will locate us in His will. A lack of obedience will allow someone else to be raised to that position – as Mordecai explained to Esther:
For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father's house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this? (Esther 4:14 KJV)
It is not the hearing nor reading of God’s word, but the application into our daily lives of what we’ve learned that places us correctly for such a time as God wills. We also have the ability to select a different path, giving our place of growth and deliverance to another.
Where we were before doesn’t matter at this stage in our lives – turning back to regret or attempt to fix a time of disobedience serves to take our focus from where we need to be next. Going back is not an option, as Spock said:
What you want is irrelevant.We move forward from where we are right now, in obedience, though we may live with consequences of our ignorance or disobedience.
What you've chosen is at hand
Just as those siblings, living under one roof, we all hear the same gospel message. We hear and read of Jesus’ birth, ministry, death and resurrection. The story hasn’t changed in two thousand years. Multiple references to Old Testament prophecy are tied to New Testament fulfillment. The story is ignored today as much as it was then – and listened to, applied and lived as much as it was then, too. The message hasn’t changed, the choices haven’t changed and the response percentages haven’t changed all that much, either.
So, why does it matter now? Because our daily choices determine where we will be, not only where we are today. We may remain unlearned, or we can build our lives upon a firm foundation by study and application:
Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: (Matthew 7:24 KJV)
Ask in prayer what He has in store for right now.