March 22/23: Our choices affect ourselves
March 29/30: Our choices affect others
April 5/6: Our choices affect God’s kingdom
April 12/13: Making the wise choice
The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
That famous poem was written by Robert Frost in 1920 and despite its popularity, it is often misinterpreted. Many people read this poem and think that it is about taking “the least traveled path.” However, in the poem, Frost makes the statement that the two paths were actually worn about the same and they had about the same number of leaves covering them. Throughout this poem, Frost is looking back on this choice that he made at one point in the past and he is wandering how his life would have been different if he had chosen differently, if he had taken the other path. He expresses regret at not being able to take the other path, while at the same time not regretting the path that he did choose. He actually wishes that he could have gone both ways in this decision.
He recalls deliberating about both choices that, at the time, seemed so similar, but undoubtedly would lead to two completely different outcomes in his life. At the end of the poem, he switches from talking about the past to talking about the future and about how he will tell other people about this monumental decision with a sigh. This sigh expresses both regret and self-satisfaction because he is glad and sorry at the same time. But, instead of dwelling on his regret, he will hide this from people and tell them about how happy he is that he made the decision that he made and how great it has made his life.
We make choices everyday and some lead to regret and others lead to satisfaction. Some lead to pain and suffering and others lead to joy and happiness. And some lead to a little bit of both. Some choices have consequences that last temporarily and some lead to more permanent results. We may choose to go to a buffet for dinner and later regret that decision because of the pain of overeating. But, this decision has only temporary consequences unless we continue to make the same choice over and over. More often than not, it is a series of decisions that lead us down a path toward regret, but sometimes, there are monumental decisions that we make that could turn out to be devastating.
It is so important that we think before we act and deliberate about making the wisest choice that we can so that in the future, we will not have to cover up our regrets like Robert Frost did. The choices that we make today affect what happens tomorrow. They not only affect our lives directly, but they also impact the lives of others and could possibly affect their decision to follow Christ or not. Our choices are important. And so it is important that we be wise when making them.
Our choices affect ourselves:
Jeremiah once wrote, “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.” We come to crossroads everyday and we have to make a choice of which path we will take. Will we take the wise path or will we take the foolish path? Sometimes teenagers do not deliberate very long before diving headlong into a decision and often that leads down a foolish path. However, God instructs us to be wise and careful about the decisions that we make.
Our choices affect others:
Most decisions that we make on a daily basis are made with little to no thought. Some decisions are ultimately inconsequential, but others can have a lasting impact. When we give little thought to the decisions that we make, we do not give consideration to how those decisions might impact others around us. It is so important to consider the implications of actions before we make choices because one wrong decision can affect the life of someone else.
Our choices affect God’s kingdom:
God calls us to make wise decisions not only because he wants our lives to be blessed and he wants us to bless others, but also because the salvation of someone else may be on the line. In our interactions with non-Christians, it is important for us to make wise choices and act like Jesus because the choices that we make tell them something about who Jesus is. When our unwise choices negatively affect them, they will assume that the one that we follow will negatively affect them as well. This could be the deciding factor of whether they choose to accept Jesus’ free offer of grace.
Making the wise choice:
Being prudent in our decision-making is not easy. In fact, it is way easier to make choices with no deliberation whatsoever. By disciplining ourselves through practical, simple steps and following through with the things that Jesus teaches, we can begin to make wise choices on a daily basis. When making wise decisions becomes a daily habit, our lives will be blessed, other people’s lives will be blessed and we will be able to lead people into a life-changing relationship with Christ.
Week 1: Deuteronomy 28
Week 2: Philippians 2
Week 3: 1 Peter 2
Week 4: Matthew 7
Give your student a gift to remind them to make wise decisions. Give them a physical item that they can keep on them at all times to remember that the decisions that they make affect the family. When they go out of the house and into the world, they are representing you as parents. Their behavior is a direct reflection of how you raised them and when they make wise choices, they represent your family well. This item can be a piece of jewelry like a necklace or a ring. It can be something that they keep on their key ring, in their pocket or in their backpack. Make sure that they know that anytime they see it or feel it, they should be reminded to make wise decisions.