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Thursday, July 16, 2009


I read a devotion the other day about ‘exercising our will’ in choosing the course of our decisions each day. Whether to return the extra change the clerk gives us, whether to consider it a gift when the girl at McDonalds’ neglects to ring up our coke or to speak spitefully to the neighbor’s four year old when she picks our daffodils—those kinds of choices were the ones that the author was focusing on. And I could see her point. But as so many times happens, I continued to think on the topic and came to the conclusion that there was a much greater exercise of will that the child of God chooses to pursue.

Many times we hear sinners say that in following the Lord we are giving up the responsibility for taking care of ourselves and choosing our self direction. But in reality, we are exercising a greater amount of self direction than the person who simply goes with the flow of the world, wrapped up in Satan’s control.
It requires no self control, no exercise of will, to choose between two human courses. Either one will accomplish Satan’s end. We may waver between the two options in choosing the one which will result in the greater self-gratification, but ultimately our fleshly good is the only standard for selection. Satan offers no opposition or difficulty when we exercise this sort of ‘self-direction.’ He presents two course of action that will accomplish his purpose then sits back and allows us our ‘freedom of choice.”

We find in Deuteronomy 30:10 the ultimate choice. I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live. As ‘free moral agents” we must look beyond the particular day to day choices and first choose between ‘life and death, blessing and cursing” We must lift our eyes above the mundane to the eternal. Once this ultimate choice is made, the others become simpler. We are no longer forced to weigh options in the light of the greatest self-gratification but only in the light of the Word of God and the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Choosing Life initially results in greater wisdom for the lesser decisions that face to us from day to day. The day to day choices follow logically from our choice for Life. Once we have put God’s Way above our own, we simply “choose” follow Him. It is the initial choice that is of the greatest import and the one that Satan is most interested in getting us to overlook. He would rather bring it down to making the Christian life seem to be one of constant weakness “being controlled by God.”

Making this initial choice is “a deliberate calculation, not something into which we drift easily; and everything else is in abeyance until we decide.” No other choice is of any import until then. No choice Satan brings before us prior to that will have any bearing on our eternal future. But once that resolution for life is truly settled upon our course of action in all the lesser decisions becomes clearer and easier.

Of course, Satan will continue to harass us and endeavor to influence our choices for the wrong, but the greatest battle, at least for me, was that initial choice. Once that was settled my course was laid out.

This follows closely with today’s scripture. Contentment is a result of having settled in your heart that we will serve the Lord. That decision makes our life one of circumcision. Our lot in life is that which the Lord has determined for us, why should we be discontent? Our health is that which the Lord as allotted us, why must we complain? Our money, our house, our livelihood, as we follow Christ will follow naturally along.

Now this is not to say we will not do our best to provide for ourselves. We will take care of the bodies the Lord has given us and we will be careful of our livelihood and our finances. Should the Lord place in our pathway an opportunity to better our existence in some material way, we will take advantage of that chance within the parameters of godliness. We will provide the best things for our families as the Lord makes us able. None of these will be a subject of constant worry. Nor will we be continually longing for our neighbor’s car or his income. We will be content with the life choices the Lord has provided for us.

As Paul said we will be good stewards of that which the Lord has blessed us. And we will be content there in. Should we strive for anything, it will be a closer relationship with the Father.

What peace that way of living provides!

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