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I Have a Choice

Monday, March 22, 2010

Category: Change, Character, Your Walk With God

"I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life" (Deuteronomy 30:19).

More than you or I would ever like to admit, we are where we are in life because of the choices we've made. Every step forward has been because of a good choice and every step backward has been because of a bad choice. It's traceable through our individual lives as well as through history. In fact, all of God's Word is a story of people's choices.

Go all the way back to the beginning. God made Adam and Eve and put them in a garden. Most of the options they had were premium—"Do I want cantaloupe or grapes? Will I go for a walk or a swim?" Except for one. Right in the center of Eden, God placed a tree that served as a monument to the power of choice. He told them, "Everything in the garden is awesome. Enjoy it all—except the fruit of this one tree." And what did they do? They chose wrong and ate it anyway, and we've been spiraling from the consequences ever since.

Flip a couple more pages in the Bible and people are still choosing.

  • Adam and Eve's son Cain was out of control. He killed his brother and claimed the devil made him do it (Genesis 4).
  • Noah chose well even when everyone else opted for the B track. For decades, he delivered the severe weather forecasts in spite of no one believing him. When the rain came, those same people hammered on the ark walls and cried, "Open up! We want to chose differently!" But the time for choosing was over (Genesis 6).
  • Eli wreaked havoc when he didn't disciple his sons. He could have, should have, chose not to (1 Samuel 2).
  • King Saul's whole life was a train wreck of twisted choices (1 Samuel 18-19).
  • And Samson played the tragic lead in his own Old Testament soap opera (Judges 14-16).

All of God's Word is a diary of choices. Get back to this reality in your life too. Your choices determine much of your life's joy or pain.

"But James," you might say, "you don't know my story. You don't know where I've come from or how hard it's been." You're right, I do care, and I don't know—but God does. He knows you intimately. He feels your deepest hurt. He understands your pain.

He also wants you to be free of it. He has bigger plans for you. Acknowledging your capacity to choose is where that begins. Good things come from good choices. Bad things come from bad choices—no matter your circumstance.

God can accomplish awesome things into your life when you stand on the "I choose" square. Joshua told the children of Israel (who were suffering from a string of bad choices) "For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. . . . I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life . . . loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life" (Deuteronomy 30:11,19-20).

You can choose to get to a better place with God before the day is over. You can regain ground lost from past mistakes. You can press on to experience the amazing blessings God has hand-picked for you. Already I know that some of you are pulling this to your heart. I also know that others read this and go, "Nah."

See, it comes back around to choices.


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