Have you ever had a moment in your life when you made a choice, that changed your life so much, or when your thoughts and your mindset changed so much because of an event, that your life was never the same after that moment? Ever have a time that you can almost view your life as the before and after of that moment? Have you ever said, "I wish I could go back to that moment, I would do things so differently?" "If I had chosen another direction that day, all of our lives would be completely different right now?" These moments are "Defining Moments" in your life.
Every single life is built upon a series of defining moments. Some of these moments are thrust upon us unwillingly and unwanted (death, sickness, accident, job changes, etc.), some of these moments are recognized and chosen on purpose by us (marriage, divorce, friends, drugs). These moments were defining because each one slightly, but firmly changed, not only the direction of your life, but literally who you have become as a person, since that event or decision. Effecting what you believe, how you live your life, who you touch in life, your motivation, desires, joy, even your personality. Changing your life, your soul, and your loved ones forever. The problem is, that most us do not see the overwhelming importance of these seemingly small decisions or directional changes. We do not see how our reaction to a stressful event has changed our course and our mindset. Sometimes, it is simply that we want what we want, and we couldn’t care less about the consequences, changing our lives forever. Most of us go through these defining moments in life recklessly, subconsciously, and with a worldly mindset, therefore, we often get reckless, and worldly results. Then we spend our time in remorse, or damage control, asking God for help. Why do these moments affect us to powerfully? Because they are motivated by several very major factors (piercing pain, piercing and undeniable truth, piercing love for others or God). All three of which, will hit with such demanding impact: they force a response in your thoughts, motives and actions. Scriptures are purposefully packed with stories of godly and ungodly people facing defining moments, showing us how these moments shaped their lives, and their family's lives, and how these small, but massively important moments shaped history. Remember, some moments are unwillingly thrust upon us, and others are discerned as necessary, and willfully decided in Godly wisdom. Job, who lives righteously for God, loses his riches, his children, and his health, bringing him to this point: Job 2:9-10: The circumstances were thrust on Job. But it wasn't what happened in his life that determined who he was, it was his choice in how he would react. What happens in a moment of your life only reveals who you secretly were up to that point, and your reaction to this defining moment, will powerfully decide which into which direction you will grow from that point onward. Another one: David sees and hears the Philistine giant, Goliath, as he taunts and ridicules his God, leading to this moment: Samuel 17:40: he made a decision to place himself in the situation? David had a defining moment, when he stepped out in faith, based upon his Godly wisdom, and the results were life changing, nation changing, history changing, and eternity changing. Now, let's look at the same man years later in one of his least stressful, and most successful moments: 2 Samuel 11:1-3: David had a defining moment in his life, when he decided to consciously sin against God, and that defining moment horribly affected his life, Bathsheba's life, her husband Uriah's life, and brought trouble to all of Israel. But it goes further back than even watching Bathsheba on the roof: "It happened in the spring of the year, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him, and all Israel. But David remained at Jerusalem." David had a defining moment when he decided he had done enough for God, and he was due a vacation from his duties as king and warrior over God's people. This one selfish decision damaged his entire life for God, as well as his children's. What about Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego, when they were told they would bow or die? (Forced) What about Daniel when he was told to stop praying or die? (Forced) What about Nehemiah, when he was broken over the wasteland that once was Jerusalem, and remembering God's words of Promise and mercy, he made a decision to risk his life going to a foreign king with a request to rebuild? (Discerned) What about all of Israel, after God delivered them into the Promised Land, and they were finally about to become their own nation? When Joshua asked them a question that would affect the nation, and all of history forever (Discerned): Joshua 24:15. What about Peter, when he denied Jesus three times? When Peter saw Jesus resurrected by the shore, he had a choice to return to Jesus in humility and brokenness, or be like Judas, and feel remorse, but no repentance. (Discerned) What about Jesus, when the weight of the entire world was thrust upon Him in the Garden? (He Discerned the need, but no one could force His actions) What about that prodigal son, living with the pigs in poverty and loneliness? He could have lived out his days broken and poor, too stubborn d proud to return, but he chose to return based on his faith and wisdom of his father. (Discerned)
What about in your life and my life? How do we handle defining moments? The biggest problem we face in defining moments, is simply realizing and acknowledging when they occur. Seeing the dire consequences of certain moments, and the decisions that we take flippantly. Look at some of these moments that often shape our lives and define who we will become: Uncontrolled (Forced) decisions: (Examples: death of a loved one, birth of a child into your life, the initial discovery of a pregnancy, illness strikes, accident occurs, job is lost, injustice has been done to you, inherit money, offered a promotion, an inappropriate sexual or gender experience, etc.) In all these moments, it is easy (and natural) to let emotions dictate our responses, whether good or bad. These are some of our most important moments in life. How we allow ourselves to respond at these times will begin a journey that will shape our faith, our walk in life, and our world view from that point, often beginning a different path that will forever effect our very personality, our spiritual relationship with Christ, and even our eternal destination. It's in these difficult, defining moments where we can lose ourselves and all that we cling to, unless we purposefully ground ourselves in His Word. See the stories purposefully placed there for our benefit, which are similar to our situation, and trust His Word, His Character, and His Purpose, even when we don't understand. These moments are when we have to actively seek Him and His Will more than life, and these defining moments will strengthen us, instead of break us: Psalm 18:30-32.
Next, look at a few examples of defining moments which come along simply as, "Moments we Discern in our Wisdom"
(or lack thereof) (Examples: decision to marry, to divorce, to have sex, to live with someone, to get drunk or do that drug, to stop partying or using drugs, to get in that car impaired, to flirt back a little this time, to click on that porn site, to deal finally deal with anger, hate, or unforgiveness, to not/say the hurtful thing, to stop the fight and apologize, to break the silence, to accept Christ, or begin to really live for Him) We need to see the importance of these decisions, and not take them flippantly. These defining moments should not be decided by our feelings, our rights, what we deserve, or what the world tells us is the proper response: Proverbs 4:26. Instead, honestly ask yourself at that very moment: How will this decision effect the course of my life? How will it affect those who my life touches (witness)? How will it shape my thoughts and belief system? How will it affect my relationship with Christ? Does it have eternal impact? Psalm 119:35.
Why do we struggle with Defining Moments so much in our lives? Because so often, the correct response to a defining moment will challenge us to give up something at a cost, leave a place of comfort and safety, pass up an opportunity for pleasure or benefit, change our direction in life or cease an established habit, take a chance in a new and unknown direction, change our very motivation for what drives us, finally face what is really important in our lives—solidly establish, once and for all, what we really believe, who we really are, and what we really live for—sometimes follow faith instead of logic: Proverbs 3:6-8. How much sin you accept in your life right now? How angry, how unforgiving, how anxious you are right now? How much you trust Christ right now? How closely you are walking with a Him right now? Have all been shaped by defining moments in your life, big and small, to this day? What things right now in your life, do you know need a defining moment, in order to set your life on the right course? Joshua 24:15.
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