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Choice is a very important element in the Christian life, yet it is rarely mentioned. Instead, one interpretation is that we should let God make our choices for us because He is perfect and we are not.
But this theory is not at all what the Bible teaches.
Our choices have a power that we must not neglect in any way!
Many Christians often confuse God advising us with God making our choices.
The fact that God advises us does not mean that He decides on our choices. This passage gives us a good picture:
Deuteronomy 30:19-20 I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.”
Throughout the period of the Law, we can see that God's people had not made good choices. God confronts them with their responsibilities (“I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing”) and then He advises them (“therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.”). It is exactly the same for us today, God gives us His advice, but the final choice is ours.
We can also take the example of Adam and Eve before whom God placed a choice without forcing them to go one way or the other. However, God advised them.
Genesis 3:3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’
We know what happened as a result of this choice of Adam and Eve: sin entered the earth through one man (Adam). And through one man it was removed from the earth (Jesus).
This shows us that our choices, whatever they may be, have a positive or negative power. Our choices are decisions that will have an impact on our present and future. No matter if I make good choices or bad choices, I will be the one to suffer the consequences, positive or negative.
When you think about it, it is quite easy to agree and maybe even to have already realised this fact, that our choices have consequences. More or less all Christians will have established this truth in their thinking. But what is much rarer is to see Christians who have understood that God does not choose for them.
Again we go back to creation.
Genesis 1:26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
The original word translated as “have dominion” gives the image of “governing, reigning as a sovereign”. So we could also say: “let him govern as a sovereign” instead of “him have dominion”. Things then take on a slightly different meaning. If I am to govern as a sovereign, I have to make decisions and choices, I am the highest authority in the place I am governing. Well, that is how God has positioned you and me on this earth. Some may say that we do make our choices, but if we happen to make a wrong choice, God will come to our rescue to prevent us from making that wrong choice. Let's look at some examples of this:
The answer is no to all these questions, of course. God will advise, warn, but in no circumstances will He force us to listen to Him so that we do not make a wrong choice. Our choices are our responsibility, even if God is always close to us to help us make the right choices. God has chosen to leave us in charge of taking His advice or not to make our choices.
So it is a fact that God does not prevent us from making bad choices, even though He will strongly advise us not to do so. However, the final decision is ours, and this is a very important point to realise. God leaves us responsible for our choices. Therefore, our choices have the power to bring us happiness as well as sorrow or hardship.
Too many Christians today still think that God will come and stop them from making bad choices in their lives. But we only have to look at our own lives, or the lives of some of our brothers and sisters, to see that this is not the case. Some Christians make bad choices and suffer the consequences.
Apart from a few specific cases, most people who make a bad choice do so thinking they are making a good choice. This shows us that in such cases we are deceiving ourselves. We are often victims of our ignorance, pride, stubbornness, immaturity, or simply a lack of self-discipline. That is why the main solution is to ask the Holy Spirit for guidance so that He can teach us knowledge, humility, maturity, having a clear will to change within ourselves to make the right choices in our lives.
I knew a Christian in my youth who told me that he wanted to make the right choices so much that when he went shopping he prayed over the pasta packets to know which one he should get. Unfortunately, this did not stop him from making the wrong choice by leaving his wife some time later. Of course he was blatantly immature. So it is not a question of being robots who do nothing without referring to God down to the smallest decision, but rather of acting in a balance where I will live in a relationship, a collaboration with God. This shows us that we can sometimes seek our growth and God's guidance in foolish areas. This is why we must act maturely and seek to make the right choices in all the important areas of our lives, not just in areas where God has no part. God leaves it entirely up to us whether we eat spaghetti or macaroni!
In principle, and if you are growing in maturity, knowledge and humility, you should realise that you are asking God a little less often for His advice in the choices of your life compared to the early days of your conversion. This does not mean that you are detached from God and that you are in an attitude where you think you know everything and act alone, but simply that you are advancing in spiritual maturity. However, this does not mean of course that you should not ask God for anything, that is not my point at all.
It will simply show that you are growing in maturity, that you know more and more deeply the nature of God, that you know better His way of thinking, His priorities. It is just like a child who is less and less dependent on his parents, except that the aim is not to be no longer dependent on God as a child would be ultimately, but simply to grow in particular areas while continuing to deepen our relationship with God. Of course it will be appropriate to go into this kind of attitude being absolutely sure of oneself before considering having the mind of God. But the point here is simply to realise that we are called to grow into a certain autonomy in Jesus.
Until I choose to take charge of my relationship with God, no one will do it for me. Until I make the effort to grow, to repent (change my mind) of certain thoughts, I will not see the results of good choices in my life. It is the same in all areas of our lives.
As I often say, “If we refuse to make choices or learn to make good choices, then life, circumstances, or even someone else will do it for me”.
The major difference here is that if I don't face up to my own choices, another person or circumstance will make that choice for me, and that won't stop me from suffering whatever the circumstances are. It is now easy to understand that it is far more beneficial for me to make my own choices according to God's guidance, rather than letting life in general or satan do it for me.
I remember talking to a young mother who was struggling to assert her authority with her children, telling her that she absolutely had to decide to make the choice to sometimes contradict her children when necessary. Often she preferred not to say anything, not to make the decision to speak to her children because she had this lack of authority. I told her then, that if she didn't decide to do it herself, and according to what God teaches us, then life and the whole mentality of this world would do the job for her with her children, but not quite in the same sense as God says in His Word.
Once I understand that I must make my own choices, I must learn to make the right choices according to what God teaches. Unfortunately, there are more Christians who make bad choices than the other way around. This is easily verified when you look at the Christian lifestyle of many Christians. There are 80% of the Church of Christ who live on the remaining 20%. That is to say, it is about 20% of the body of Christ that makes sure to support the remaining 80% in various ways. I understand that everyone must have time to grow and that we do not come to full maturity on the day we are born again, however everyone must exercise self-discipline.
It is important that we live our lives with the knowledge that God has placed us with the responsibility to make choices.
If I choose to grow in the perspective of making the right choices in collaboration with the Holy Spirit, and if I decide to be a humble person so that I can hear God's counsel for me, success is guaranteed!
Bye for now…