The Diagnostic Question

by Andy Wood on January 15, 2010

in Exploring the Possibilities, Five LV Laws, Gamblers, LV Cycle, Principle of Freedom

This is about asking yourself a simple, but profound question about choices and consequences and serving.  Choose well, you’ll live well.  Choose poorly, and you will serve the consequences of those choices.  

Moses understood that.  Just before his death, he called an assembly of Israelis and reframed all the things that God had taught him.  We call it, “Deuteronomy.”  Here’s what Moses had to say as he was wrapping things up:

This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life, and he will give you many years in the land (Deuteronomy 30:19-20, NIV).

There’s one example of the diagnostic question:  Am I choosing life or death?  It’s a powerful question about the path we are on.  A friend of mine has started using this to frame his everyday decisions – what he eats, his business decisions, his family relationships. 

Jesus offered another way to frame your choices.  “Take care!” he said. “Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired, for then you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven” (Matthew 6:1, LB). 

Based on that, you could ask, When and where do I want the benefits of this choice?  Here or there?  Today or eternity?  My glory or God’s?  My pleasure or his?

The LifeVesting Law of Freedom says, I will be served by the people and things I invest in and serve.  But what if I spend my life serving only myself?  What if I live only for pleasure, consume all my resources on the moment at hand, or invest in the praise of other people?  Well, then, to quote those haunting words from Jesus, “You have your reward.”  The day will come when your “self” can’t return the favor, your pleasure is spent, the moment is past, and the praise of others is only a distant memory.

In the context of LifeVesting, here’s the diagnostic question:

 In the future, will I serve this decision, or will it serve me? 

I’m pausing a minute here while you let that sink in. 

Some choices make you serve them later.  They leave you enslaved to the consequences, or addicted to the choice itself.  There is no “undo” button or mulligan.

Other choices serve you instead.  They create possibilities that free you to fulfill your God-given potential and calling.

Most of us are a mixed bag.

In one of the most famous stories in the Bible, David – the man after God’s own heart – made a series of impulsively stupid choices.  And David served those decisions for the rest of his life. 

Can you relate?  God knows, I can.

But that doesn’t tell the complete story of David’s life.  From his earliest years, he had made choices that ended up serving him. 

  • Choices regarding excellence, courage, principle, discretion, appearance, and worship ultimately led to his being hired as a giant killer!    
  • Choices to stand and fight when the entire army of Israel turned and ran later served him as he gathered around him one of the most elite fighting forces in the history of warfare.
  • Choices not to retaliate when Saul or Absalom tried to kill him led to the testimony from God himself that this was “a man after his own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14). 

On this day or any other, you will be presented with a series of choices.  Many of them appear routine and you handle them with something akin to automatic pilot.  But they are choices nevertheless.  Just remember – those choices are taking you somewhere.  And when you get wherever that is, one of two things will happen.  Either you will be obliged to serve those choices and their consequences.

Or you can be free.  And the choices will serve you.

Choose well, friends.  Ask, and ask, and ask the Diagnostic Question.  Because freedom rocks!  And bondage hurts like hell.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Polly Miller January 17, 2010 at 12:11 pm

so here i am making a choice, it is supposed to be profitable to me to blog on this…
in light of the choices i have made in my life, few have been good, the bad ones have created some consequences, but even fewer of the bad ones have created bondage.
it does make me think harder about my next set of choices in my life but gives me no hope that they will be good.

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