Ghanata Senior High is a respected school in Dodowa, Ghana. This school’s motto is Carpe Diem! This Latin aphorism “Carpe diem” is typically rendered in English as “seize the day”, which is another way of saying, “Seize the Opportunity!” Carpe diem was first seen in Book 1 of Odes by Horace, the Roman poet.
Consider the following scenarios. Are they opportunities or temptations? Place a check mark by the opportunities and a cross by the temptations.
- It’s your last paper. You have answered only 2 of 6 questions confidently. Your friend sees your trouble, and turns/pushes/tilts his paper for you to copy if you want
- The guys who reported you to the police thought they knew that you were innocent, were happy. Now they are in trouble and need your help
- A junior student visits you at home wearing a very short, tight skirt and an almost transparent blouse and invites you to a nearby house
- Someone cut some plantains from your farm. As you were lamenting, you discovered the person had accidentally dropped his court summons for another theft case
- Your school is organizing a program during which the standards for dress are lowered. Your parents are quite strict but they wont be there with you.
- You have discovered a fantastic opportunity that will end your financial problems, but your parents/pastor proved to you that it’s against the Holy Book
- Your classmates have decided to spend their independence holiday at the beach. At this point, it is almost impossible to reach your parents to ask for permission
- Someone close to you is sick, and you feel as if you should fast and pray for them
- Your former boss lost a contract due to some bad practices. That customer brings the business to your company
- It’s 10.30pm and your spouse-to-be who lives 600km away convinces you to step outside your apartment for a surprise. You open your door to find him/her standing there live and in colour.
- Today is the second anniversary of your neighbour’s evil plan against you. He still has not been cautioned or disciplined. You are not in a position to do anything except to throw a big pity party
- Some people in your hall use illegal drugs, and a ‘friend’ offers to give you something small to try to see if you would like it
- Your daughter is complaining about an apparently wrong decision your spouse, and you took. You could tell her the truth that it’s your spouse who brought the idea up
- There are many foods and drinks at this buffet dinner, and like everyone, you really feel like trying something new. However, all the options are against your religious principles
Opportunities are like the baton in a relay race. Someone runs to a point and pushes it to you, and then you fire off to win the race! Actually, temptations are also opportunities. Good opportunities bring you joy and fulfillment. Bad opportunities, or temptations, on the other hand, are often brilliantly disguised as opportunities. In the end, however, you only have regrets. One is true; the other is fake, Fake, And FAKE. Claim God’s promise in Genesis 3.15 to overcome temptations. What are your opportunities? Grab your good chances, and the results smile at you. Touch the evil chances and the results, to quote J. R. Oppenheimer, “leave on the tongue only the taste of ashes.”
In Acts 8:26-40 we see Philip taking advantage of the opportunity provided by God and witnessing to the Eunuch. That singular event took Christianity to Africa. God gives us opportunities that can change our destiny if we grab them. We must be ready to do whatever it takes so we don’t miss God’s plan for our lives and the opportunity to make impact on our world. Any delay or procrastination easily morphs it into a catastrophe. Carpe diem!
So next time it seems that something outstanding is coming your way, first ascertain whether it’s a good opportunity or a bad opportunity. How? The bible helps:
- 1 John 4:1 – wisely weigh things, crosscheck all ‘facts’;
- Matt 10:16 – be brilliant but harmless, it’s not a race so THINK;
- Luke 21:13 – God gives opportunities, don’t waste them;
- 2 Pet 3:9 – God is patient, not slow, so repent;
- Eph 4:27 – Don’t give the devil a foothold in your life; and finally,
- 1 Pet 5:8 – Be alert, your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion.
Listen to Sibbes on temptation:
“Satan gives Adam an apple, and takes away Paradise. Therefore in all temptations let us consider not what he offers, but what we shall lose.”Richard Sibbes
When you desire God’s will, you will recognize His leading in your life. Seize your opportunities with both hands. But give your temptations the boot.