The Power to Choose – For Better and For Worse

God has allowed each one of us the power to choose. In His sovereignty He refuses to deny us that ability. The unrestrained power to choose can ultimately lead to immeasurable good or irreversible harm. Nonetheless, for better or for worse, the choice is ours.

I have a long history full of both good and poor choices. Probably, so do you! If we are wise, we will learn from both our successes and failures. My life is colored by the effects of choices I’ve made regarding finances, health, relationships and a multitude of other areas.

It is often the little choices that lead to bigger decisions with even greater consequences. Little things form big habits of conduct that result for the better or for the worse.

“This day…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.”
Deuteronomy 30:19-20

Moses is wanting the people to realize how serious the power to choose inevitably is.

Life or Death

If the consequences of our choices were instant, perhaps we would learn quicker and be wiser when it comes to decision making.

“A little extra sleep, a little more slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest —
then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit;
scarcity will attack you like an armed robber.”
Proverbs 24:33-34

Do you notice how it is “a little” of this and “a little” of that, that leads to something seriously alarming? That little extra may not seem like much in the moment. Over time though, a pattern of behavior develops that leads either down a path of destruction or up to God.

Many people are bound by addiction. None of them sought such an ending. Usually it started with a little taste, a small whiff or a sneak peak. All too soon, an unbreakable habit leads to brokenness, regret and even torment.

My consistent prayer over our family has been, “Lord, don’t let us get away with anything. May we face the consequences of our sin quickly and soundly.” We can be lulled into apathy and indifference when we think, in even a small way, we are getting away with something contrary to God’s perfect will.

Blessings and Curses

When I flip back a couple chapters in Deuteronomy, I see the promises of blessing God has waiting for those who seek to obey Him with all their hearts. Blessings such as overcoming enemies, gaining prosperity, open heavens and receiving promotion.The extensive list invites us to revel in God’s goodness and grace.

“You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country.
the fruit of your womb will be blessed,
and the crops of your land and the young of your livestock
— the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks.
Your basket and your kneading trough will be blessed.
You will be bless when you come in
and blessed when you go out.”
Deuteronomy 28:3-6

I have lived in the city and in the country, farmed land, raised livestock and enjoyed abundance. Yes, hard work was involved. All success was entirely the result of God’s blessing, however. Yet, there were also seasons, when my heart was equally fixed upon God and devastation seemed to loom everywhere.

Through the legitimate struggles God was working out a higher good, developing my character, strengthening my faith, humbling my heart and allowing me to lean totally on Him as my Source.

This same chapter that speaks of the blessings of obedience also contains the negative consequences of turning away from God. God warns that the power to choose goes both ways — blessings and curses, better and worse.

Choose Life

Moses presented the truth, honestly and sincerely. Now everyone who heard was released to weigh their own actions in the balance of God’s standard. God isn’t wanting to allow harm to come our way. He lovingly invites us to Himself.

“Now choose life, so that you and your children my life
The LORD is your life
and He will give you many years in the land…”
Deuteronomy 30:20

I wish I could have been there to hear the intonation in Moses’ voice and catch a glimpse of his expression. The gift of life, a life that would affect generations, was being extended freely and fully.

I can hear that same offer repeated by Jesus,

“The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy;
I have come that they may have life,
and have it to the full.”
John 10:10

We see again the power to choose and the results of that choice.

Extra Benefits

When we wisely exercise the power to choose, “extra” benefits come along:

“Now choose life, so that …
you may love the LORD your God,
listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.”
Deuteronomy 30:20

The road of life is littered with relational corpses of poor choices. That “thing” we mess with may not result in instant death, but every act of disobedience drains life from us in one way or another. God’s gift of choice affects not just us but everyone around us as well.

More than anything, our choices affect our relationship with God. I am foolish if I believe I can walk in disobedience to God and still maintain intimate relationship with Him. My power to choose will either open my heart to hear clearly from Him or cause dullness to cloud my perception. A little compromise here and a little more there is the outward evidence of how much or how little I am “hold(ing) fast” to Him.

Sadly others can see the outcome of my choices long before I do. Sometimes my willful blinding to God’s truths causes dullness in my mind. At other times, I have stepped off course in innocence or ignorance. The reasons my vary but the results are consistently damaging.

Power to Choose

God will never take away our power to choose. His heart rejoices when we exercise that gift of grace to turn to Him in wholehearted love and devotion. At other times, He grieves as we turn and go our own direction.

Love propels God to release us to our own destinies. His love invites us to choose wisely.

At the end of Joshua’s tenure as leader, he declares his stance:

“…choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…
but as for me and my household,
we will serve the LORD.”
Joshua 24:15

The principle of the power to choose life or death flows through the pages of the bible from Genesis to Revelation.  Today, I simply add my little voice to the mighty voices of multiple others, “choose life.” For in choosing life we also make the choice to love, listen and hold fast to the things of God.

Faith or Fear? Which Will We Choose?

Faith or Fear

Like a great chasm an expanse is drawn,
polar opposites separated as east from west –
faith and fear.
Which will we choose?
This is a decision that will influence every other direction!
Will we live a life of faith or be crippled by fear?

When all is “going well”, confidence and assurance floods our thoughts and brighten our steps. However, when real obstacles loom before us and the ground shakes beneath our feet, what then is our response? I’m talking about those events that threaten to dismantle:

the terminal or incurable
the impenetrable
a key relationship shattered
financial decimation
all-hope-gone kind of events.

Faith or Fear

Where To Go?

Where do we go at times like these? Then what do we do?

“We are certainly not those
who are held back by fear and perish;
we are among those who have faith and experience true life.”
Hebrews 10:39 (PT)

God is looking for those who will fix their eyes on Him and trust Him at all times, in all seasons and through all circumstances. Faith requires one to reach beyond self. And that is the real problem! Humanity, by nature, is most self-reliant. Breaking this inert tendency requires consistent and persistent effort, which really is at the heart of faith.

Faith requires one to reach beyond self Click To Tweet

Joshua is commanded to hamstring all the horses and burn all the chariots of the enemy kingdoms he conquered. Why? Because God knew it wouldn’t be long before they would forget about the supernatural victories they won through faith and begin to trust in man-made remedies and solutions. And true enough, just a couple of chapters later we see the people paralyzed by fear. As they recognized the strength of their enemy’s military might. their personal faith felt minuscule.

Enemy Army

Faith or Fear?

What was Joshua’s response? He looked the facts in the face, threw his shoulders back and replied,

“…though they are strong, you can…”
(Josh 17:18)

That is exactly what faith declares! You can! With God you can! Through Him it is possible! When the impossible seems large, The One who makes all things possible is greater! You can!

You will know when fear is present because it will always hold you back and make you want to retreat.  ALWAYS! The result will consistently be death instead of life:

death of hopes and dreams
of relationships
and promotions
death of joy and peace
the list is endless…

But! That little equalizing word! But we are among those who have faith and experience true life!” We are! Right now, we are! Not maybe some day we will be! We are!

Mustard Seeds Wanted

Jesus said all we need is a mustard seed sized faith. Then nothing will be impossible! (Matt 17:20) I can’t tell you how reassured I am in that statement! Mustard seeds are very small. As a matter of fact, I have one taped above my work station as a daily reminder of just how small one is. When we are on a life-journey with Jesus

who is for us and with us,
whose promises toward us will never fail,
and His purposes for our lives never waver,
He is uninfluenced by times or situations,
whose declaration over us is, “You can!”
Then mustard seeds are enough;
then even small faith does
what nothing else can do!
He speaks, “You can!

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The tiniest of faith will always draw us to drink deeply from richer, fuller life – true life!

If the choice between faith or fear is the question, my personal answer will not be fear! I’ve lived long enough on that shaky side. Today I set out with a pocket of mustard seeds anxious to see what kind of life will spring forth.

Faith, at least for me, is the best choice – the only way! How about you? Will you choose to test it out, grab a little seed and see what might happen?


Prayer for Today

Lord Jesus, may my eyes not wander from your beauty,
your power,
your majesty,
and your goodness,
for as I look to You faith stirs,
invites,
hopes,
endures,
transforms,
until I live and walk in the expression of
true and full life
where all fear is displaced by genuine faith.

_______________

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