Opting Out

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.  For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.  For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.  But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.  Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.  Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

  • Galatians 5:13-26

“Did you ever get lost in a big city? The feelings of vulnerability can be overwhelming. GPS may help, but sometimes it makes matters worse when it comes down to the details. Likewise, finding yourself on Earth with no direction or purpose can be equally overwhelming. Sadly, about 45,000 Americans a year opt out with suicide.

“Fortunately, there is Someone who knows the way. Actually, He is The Way (John 14:6). He is the one who created this Earth and knows how to live in it and go out of it gracefully. Jesus became the demonstration model of walking on this human path. He gave of Himself to His Heavenly Father, His friends, His community, His people and the entire world. Hebrews 12:2 says He did it for the joy set before Him. Now, believers are to follow in His steps to do good on this planet, put their faith and trust in God, and hope in eternal life.

“Acts to the detriment of your person, and certainly suicide, are not on His path. His pathway is one of life, love, and sacrifice. Where are you walking? Are there ways you can be an advocate for life, a lover of the unlovely, and a lender with a sacrificial hand? Most people can do better. Pray that the Lord will give you vision of the good before you and lead you on that worthy, wonderful path of life.”

  • Presidential Prayer Team Devotion

Last week, Kathy, from A Time to Share, wrote about suicide.  Here is the link.  I had been reading over this devotion, considering a post on the topic.

My wife and I have both lost friends due to suicide.  When you hear the news, you are crushed wondering if there was something that you could have said or done.  My wife was especially hurt, because she had thought to call the woman and postponed the call, not knowing what was going on.

Yet, it nearly came to us within our own family.  One of our sons had thoughts of suicide.  We always thought he was this great kid, extremely smart, a bit sensitive, very social.  He didn’t voice his thoughts until we moved away from the home where we had lived for ten years.  When he quit voicing his thoughts, we thought he was adjusted to the new home.  Then I lost my job, and we moved again after a long bout of unemployment.  We were all depressed at that point, but nine months later, the company that I worked for lost its contract and I was again out of work.  At this point, he started doing cuttings.  We got him psychiatric help.

We thought the therapy had worked, but secretly the thoughts of suicide returned when he went to college.  He had determined that he could not live any longer, when a friend dragged him to a weekend retreat.  The speaker said that there was someone in the crowd with suicide on his mind.  Our son finally listened.  He was that someone.  It was there that he accepted Jesus as his Savior.

In spite of having a very hard life since that point, he has not revisited that option of “opting out”.

Jesus is the answer in each case, but maybe not the same result as our son.  Therapy may still be required.

I have heard that suicide is the ultimate in selfish behavior, but I think any sin is selfish.  We rely on ourselves instead of relying on God.  We accept a “nothing existence” when God offers victory, even victory over death.

I do not want to say that people committing suicide are not saved.  Mental health issues can afflict anyone.  Some religions / denominations teach suicide as the unpardonable sin.  It is one sin that you have no way to rectify, but it is just one sin.

But for those thinking that it only hurts you, you are wrong there.  Everyone who knows you will be harmed.  If they argued with you, they’ll want to take back those words.  If they ignored you, they’ll want to include you.  If they saw you, alone in a corner, they’ll wonder if things would have been different if they’d offered a hug.  While one person thinks of opting out as their selfish act, another person is being selfish by not noticing the pain in a friend.

Kathy ended her post with the following help information.  Suicide is not the answer.  Please, if you have that in mind, there are people who want to talk to you.

Informational Resources
Know the Warning Signs and Risk Factors of Suicide
Being Prepared for a Crisis
Need more information, referrals or support? Contact the NAMI HelpLine.
Crisis Resources
If you or someone you know is in an emergency, call 911 immediately.
If you are in crisis or are experiencing difficult or suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273 TALK (8255)
If you’re uncomfortable talking on the phone, you can also text NAMI to 741-741 to be connected to a free, trained crisis counselor on the Crisis Text Line.

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

6 Comments

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  1. Thanks for the link, Mark . I’m sorry to hear this hit so close to home. As you mentioned in my post, we’ve all had those feelings or heard a voice trying to get into our brain. Anything that causes those feelings is going to have a result. You can either listen to Satan’s lies or you can lay your burden down on Jesus. God’s love is unconditional and we can count on truth from him. When we realize how important we are in his eyes, we’ll put those thoughts to rest.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just been listening to Casting Crowns singing Nobody. I would love to end my program in three weeks (Yikes!) with the words of the chorus. We are all nobodies, until that Somebody gives us a purpose in life. Opting out cheats us of finding that purpose.

      ‘Cause I’m just a nobody
      trying to tell everybody
      All about Somebody
      who saved my soul
      Ever since You rescued me,
      You gave my heart a song to sing
      I’m living for the world to see nobody but Jesus.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Mark thanks for sharing this, this will be of great help to a lot of people.

    Liked by 1 person

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