THE CHOICES WE MAKE
As you read and study what has been written here, do not just blindly accept it. Please check the Scriptures and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you His truth. The Scriptures quoted here are from the King James version with the words of Jesus in red.
The word "choice" can have two different meanings depending upon how it is used. One of those is to identify something as "the best or most preferable part or, of special excellence" thereby describing its quality. The other meaning refers to selecting between available options. It should be obvious from the title of this booklet that we are speaking of "selecting" rather than describing quality.
God has given us the ability to make our own choices. Why he has done that is a mystery, but we do have the choice to decide things for our self. That even includes whether or not we will accept the free gift of salvation His son, Jesus, purchased for us.
We make choices every minute of the day. Some of the choices or decisions are conscious ones that we have thought, and prayed, about before we make them. Most other times, however, we are not even aware we have made a choice because it was an automatic response to an idea, a thought, or a circumstance. When we smile at something another has said, we have chosen to smile rather than frown without even thinking about the choice. And, sometimes we make no choice at all, which is actually making a choice.
Our choices decide our future. Many of them will alter our physical health, our economic health, or our reputation. Others will affect our emotional health. Most of the choices we make, however, will have a very profound impact on our spiritual well being. And, very often, the choices we make will have an effect on more than one of these areas of our life. Many times a single bad choice can mushroom into a long series of bad choices causing immense damage to all of these areas of our being.
The author is familiar with the case of a young woman who experienced first hand this cascading of bad choices into severe hurt and loss. She is a 20-year-old who chose to enter an establishment serving alcohol with her friends for a night of partying and drinking. Her wrong choice was to disregard the law which forbids her presence in such an establishment.
Later, she and her friends, left there with her driving the car belonging to another person. She then chose to drive through a stoplight without stopping and hit a man on a bicycle, knocking him down. At the urging of her friends, she made another bad choice by driving away from the accident scene. A witness to the accident reported it to the police who were able to apprehend the young woman a short time later.
These bad choices all began with the initial choice to go partying and drinking with her friends. Her experience that night has brought the following harm to her person:
She was arrested and placed into a jail cell with 14 other women.
The jail cell had only one seat-less toilet fully exposed for all to see.
The jail cell was equipped with a shower but without a door or other covering over the opening.
She automatically lost her license to drive because she refused to surrender to a breathalyser test for alcohol consumption.
She has been charged with "Hit and Run" which is a felony.
She has been charged with running a stoplight.
She has been charged with driving an uninsured vehicle, a requirement of the law in this State.
She will incur attorney fees for her defense in court. And also court costs.
She will probably lose her certificate as a licensed practical nurse (LPN) if convicted of the felony charge.
If she loses her LPN certificate, she will also lose her income source.
This is quite a serious set of consequences resulting from the wrong decision to party with alcohol while underage.
The memories of these experiences will remain with her for the rest of her life. Some of them may become the source of nightmares for a long time to come. They may even result in her experiencing periods of deep despair.
She may be burdened by the debt for many years from the attorney expenses and court costs. If she loses her LPN license, it probably will take her even longer to pay off this debt due to the possibility of having to work at lower paying jobs.
Proverb, Chapter 4, verses 20 through 22 describes for us the secret of good health. "My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh."
Our physical body is affected greatly by the foods we eat. It is also affected by the amount of our physical activity. Eating the proper foods, in reasonable amounts and being physically active will help to prevent sickness and decay in our bodies.
The amount we exercise will affect the strength of our muscles but that is not the only benefit of exercise. It also provides increased blood flow throughout the body. This increase of blood flow helps eliminate detrimental wastes through the lungs, kidneys and sweat glands. It also clears our brain of foggy thinking.
We often will experience a reduction in the stress pressures created by the circumstances around ourselves after exercising.
How we choose to react to circumstances around us will have an effect on all areas of our life. Making the wrong choice can bring about physical harm to our body. It could cost money for fines or to repair property damage and possibly a jail sentence. It might bring feelings of guilt or depression from that wrong choice. A ruined or damaged reputation which might be difficult to repair is also the possible result of a wrong choice. Choosing to react inappropriately to the circumstances around us will also impact our spiritual well being. It will create, among other things, the need to make a choice about repenting the inappropriate behavior.
Physical activities we choose can also have a serious impact upon our body. Among these are contact sports, being aggressive around other people, and using drugs or alcohol. Our choice of occupation can also present opportunities for harm to our body.
Many jobs require working in hazardous surroundings. Often employers do not provide proper safety training for working around dangerous equipment. Lack of rest or working while physically exhausted can impair our ability to function in a safe manner.
Our reputation is based upon our past behavior. It is something we build over time by how we have reacted to the circumstances around ourselves. Some of the factors that determine our reputation are based upon the following actions. Do we tell the truth or lie? Do we honor our word or back out of promises we make? Are we respectful of the property of others or careless with it? Are we helpful or a hindrance?
A good reputation can be destroyed with just one bad choice. It may be nearly impossible to repair the damage done by that single wrong choice. Proverb 18:19 says, "A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle."
Proverbs 6:6-9, tells us we are to work to provide for our economic needs. "Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest."
The state of our economic health is primarily controlled by how much money we make and how we spend or save it. Other factors, such as expensive unforseen expenses, will also have an effect on our economic health.
For most of us, our income is determined by the pay or wage we receive from employment. And the type of employment is usually determined by our level of education. While getting an education, we make choices in deciding the type of classes to take in school. Choices are also made when deciding whether or not to continue into college level classes. These decisions have a direct effect in preparing us for the type of job we become qualified for and the amount of pay we will receive.
One of the most important tools for ensuring a healthy financial condition is a good budget. Of course we must choose to be faithful in following that budget for it to be of help. Impulse buying, a choice often made without realizing it, can rapidly put us in debt.
Saving for the future unexpected emergency expenses is a choice we should make to protect our economic health. Another choice we should make early is the planning for our retirement. Are we saving enough money to support the lifestyle we want to enjoy during our retirement years?
We who are Christians have been given a "sound mind" according to 1 Timothy 1:7, "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."
Our emotional health is determined, to a great extent, by how we respond to the circumstances around us. If we choose to react in a positive manner, it often will help us maintain a healthy mental attitude about the situation.
All too often we choose to react negatively based upon our assumption of the intent of what another has said or done. When we do that we are choosing to judge without hearing both sides of the matter.
SPIRITUAL WELL BEING
As Christians, the choices make should be in agreement with Scripture and not after the lusts of our flesh. Galatians 5:16, "This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh."
The most important choice we can ever make in our life is whether or not we will accept the gift of salvation offered by our Lord Jesus through His death and resurrection. Choosing to accept salvation and become a disciple of Jesus will determine our future both here on earth and later in heaven.
We constantly fall short of perfection in living the "Christ Centered Life" because of the choices we make. This creates conditions where we must make additional choices to ask for forgiveness and to not repeat that again.
Forgiving ourselves and others is very often a difficult thing to do. We want revenge for the injustice we feel we have suffered. The Bible says that we are not to take revenge as that is God's and not ours. Romans 12:19 says,"
We often cannot control the circumstances we find ourselves in. The only thing which we can control, however, is how we react to those circumstances. I was in my mid-forties before that truth was made clear to me, but what a life changing revelation that was. While I still experienced disappointment, I was no longer frustrated when things went differently than I had expected.
Marsha Burns is a woman God uses to bring words of encouragement to the community of faith. She posted the following message on her web site May 11, 2005.
"Listen carefully to the voice of My Spirit, says the Lord, for it is imperative that you hear and obey My leading during this time. Make choices that always lead to liberty, strength, and light rather than darkness and more bondage. Do not be afraid to take a stand for what is right and good regardless of the pressure to pacify others in an effort to placate opposing forces. In your obedience you will find that your light shall dawn in the darkness, and your darkness shall be as the noonday."
What we choose to watch, listen to, read or think about will influence our attitudes and behavior.
Among the many choices Scripture councils us to make are these:
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. (Col 3:16)
And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. (Col 3:17)
And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons. (Col 3:23-25)
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Phil 4:8)
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Rom. 12:1-2)
God has given us the ability to choose how we live our life. Every choice we make will affect our future. There are rewards for making wise choices and consequences for choosing the foolish. Some wrong choices only create an inconvenience for you which can easily be repaired. Other choices are far reaching and cannot ever be reversed.
We are making choices every minute of every day. Most of these choices are made without even thinking about them. They are automatic responses to the circumstances around us. All of these choices will have an effect on our future.
Choosing to become a disciple of Jesus Christ is the single most important choice we will ever make. As a disciple, we need to choose to spend time reading the Scriptures and being in communion with the Lord. As we do this, we will begin to understand the character of God that we might present our self as a living sacrifice.
Once we have chosen to become a disciple we still must make choices every moment about what we will allow our eyes to view, our ears to hear, our mouth to utter, and our mind to dwell upon. Each of these represents an avenue to either enhance or hinder our relationship with Jesus and our future.
Making wise choices is not something that just happens, it requires effort on our part. We all need help to do that and I suggest the following prayer.
Father, in Jesus Name and by the power of the Holy Spirit, I ask for each choice I make to be in agreement with Your Word. Help me, I pray, to lust after the things of Your Holy Spirit and not after the things of this world. Amen.
July 2, 2005
If you desire additional information you may contact me: Bill
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