Skip to main content

Choices, choices, choices....

The concept of choice is all around us.  Neighborhoods are riddled with eating establishments, each with a long list of items from which to select, not only to curb our appetites, but to quench our thirsts and tickle our sweet tooth. We even have choices to make in selecting the type of gasoline we will put in our autos, which auto dealership we will go to pick out one from the various options on the lot, and where to get that same car washed and waxed.  With so many choices, no wonder we have such a hard time deciding things on occasion.  I visited the local Lowe's yesterday in hopes of securing some plants for my garden, fencing material to enclose my composter, ant killer to do away with a couple of pesky ant hills in my yard, and fertilizer to put around the trees.  Nothing is harder than making selections when you have so many choices, but I knew exactly what I was after.  There is only one type of insecticide I like to use, but when it is mixed in with the myriad of others, it made it a little harder to secure my choice.  Then I have to choose the fertilizer.  Did I want 13-8-8, 10-10-10, or just Ironite?  The choices are unending!  I settled on what I wanted, but left disappointed.  Why?  They didn't have the one thing I wanted - a lavender plant.  If they did, I couldn't find it anywhere!  What I did find were a variety of "look alike" plants which mimicked lavender in appearance.  Each time I thought I had landed upon a lavender plant, it was something else.  Isn't it good to know the choices in terms of our salvation are clear - there is but ONE way to God and that is through his Son, Jesus.  There is but ONE God we must obey.  There is but ONE God who asks for our worship.  Don't get me wrong - the world puts a whole lot of choices out there for us - but there is only ONE correct choice! All others are "look alike" choices, but they just aren't the real deal!

You, Lord, are my choice, and I will obey you.  With all my heart I beg you to be kind to me, just as you have promised.  I pay careful attention as you lead me, and I follow closely.  As soon as you command, I do what you say.  Evil people may set a trap, but I obey your Law.  Your laws are so fair that I wake up and praise you in the middle of the night.  I choose as my friends everyone who worships you and follows your teachings.  Our Lord, your love is seen all over the world.  Teach me your laws.  (Psalm 119:57-64 CEV)

When we make God our first and ONLY choice, the natural outcome is the desire to obey what he asks of us.  It may seem a little contrary to what comes naturally to us, and that is because it is contrary to our tendency to look for the "variety" in choices we have all around us.  God's way is clearly marked out and it is a pretty defined way - one way in, one way to stay on course, one way to our destination - eternity spent in his presence.  The idea of obedience is more than just doing what you are asked, though.  It is doing what you know to be right - even when no one is asking, or watching!  

Obedience begins in being careful to direct our attention away from all which distracts us and maintaining our focus.  I went to to the store yesterday with a specific list in mind.  Yep, the displays distracted me a little, but really I did not buy anything I did not have on my "list".  The list helped to keep me on track - to help me maintain focus.  Sometimes we need to rely upon "running the list" in our minds a little in order to focus on the stuff God wants us to keep in the forefront of our minds.  What is in the forefront is often what we give focus to - so figuring out how to keep what he wants there and limiting the input he doesn't is paramount to obedience.

Look at what else the psalmist says about this thing we call obedience - it is aided by those we select as companions in our journey.  When we choose friends wisely, the journey is made easier.  Why?  The choices also concern them - they want to make the right choices, as well.  We act as "reminders" to each other as to the determination to make the right choices.  Maybe this is why so many groups exist to help people stay "focused" on their goals such as losing weight as a member of Weight Watchers, staying sober as a part of an AA group, or even staying physically fit by being part of a spinning class. 

The last thing I'd like to consider today deals with what we choose to get into our minds.  God's plan is for us to be rightly related to him first, rightly related to others second, and then to allow the Word to get into us so we know how to live "right" within these relationships.  You will always hear me commenting about the importance of getting the Word of God into our lives. It is the ONE thing which will help us maintain focus and be there when we are faced with choices to veer off-course.  It is the ONE thing which can settle the troubled mind.  It is the ONE thing which can guide our decision-making when so many choices exist for us in this world today.  Since it is this important to use, isn't it apparent how much we need to get it into us?

Obedience is a matter of choice.  Choice is a matter of clarity - knowing our focus.  Have the right focus - make the right choices.  Just sayin!


Popular posts from this blog

What did obedience cost Mary and Joseph?

As we have looked at the birth of Christ, we have considered the fact he was born of a virgin, with an earthly father so willing to honor God with his life that he married a woman who was already pregnant.  In that day and time, a very taboo thing.  We also saw how the mother of Christ was chosen by God and given the dramatic news that she would carry the Son of God.  Imagine her awe, but also see her tremendous amount of fear as she would have received this announcement, knowing all she knew about the time in which she lived about how a woman out of wedlock showing up pregnant would be treated.  We also explored the lowly birth of Jesus in a stable of sorts, surrounded by animals, visited by shepherds, and then honored by magi from afar.  The announcement of his birth was by angels - start to finish.  Mary heard from an angel (a messenger from God), while Joseph was set at ease by a messenger from God on another occasion - assuring him the thing he was about to do in marrying Mary wa

A brilliant display indeed

Love from the center of who you are ; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply ; practice playing second fiddle. Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. (Romans 12:9-12) Integrity and Intensity don't seem to fit together all that well, but they are uniquely interwoven traits which actually complement each other. "Love from the center of who you are; don't fake it." God asks for us to have some intensity (fervor) in how we love (from the center of who we are), but he also expects us to have integrity in our love as he asks us to be real in our love (don't fake it). They are indeed integral to each other. At first, we may only think of integrity as honesty - some adherence to a moral code within. I believe there is a little more to integrity than meets the eye. In the most literal sense,

Do me a favor

If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care—then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand. (Philippians 2:1-4) Has God's love made ANY difference in your life? What is that difference? Most of us will likely say that our lives were changed for the good, while others will say there was a dramatic change. Some left behind lifestyles marked by all manner of outward sin - like drug addiction, alcoholism, prostitution, or even thievery. There are many that will admit the things they left behind were just a bit subtler - what we can call inward sin - things like jealousy,