God is sovereign! He has complete authority over our choices. However, we seem to be left with many everyday choices. Don’t worry, our God knows how we will choose. There is a process of the Holy Spirit working with our spirit to keep us from being overwhelmed. The Holy Spirit teaches us what to pray for, works in us to calm our fears and helps us to overcome all discouragements. With the Spirit of God advocating for us the enemy will never completely defeat us. At the same time we will never mature spiritually, or emotionally, if we do not carry forward the consequences of our decisions. Remember, Romans 8:26-28, Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
From the day man was placed on earth he was faced with choices. He had to choose names for all the animals. He was privileged to name his wife, Eve. (I was tempted to call her his partner in crime.) Soon after the couple were on the earth together they had to choose to obey God, or not. As their descendants we are confronted with choices. No matter how badly we perform God remains faithful. For those that love God all things work together for good.
The word of God assures us that “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it,”
(1 Corinthians 10:13) Every day we make hundreds of choices. We choose to get up in the morning, or not. We choose to begin our day in a variety of ways. We may choose to eat breakfast, or not. We may choose to read the Bible and pray, or not. Within each one of these choices there are many other choices we might make. Many of those choices have spiritual consequences for good or for evil. Peter told us that there were many choices. And they all lead to consequences. After Israel occupied the land the choices became worse and worse. After several years their choices led to the worst possible conditions. Read the book of Judges and see how bad it became. In order to escape the consequences they began to demand a king and then they made a bad choice. The consequences of that bad choice were bad as well.
How are you making out with your choices? Praise God!? Or woe is me?
There are decisions we must make they are mostly pertaining to our everyday lives that have an effect on our relationships. God does care what we decide, but, in order to learn and grow we must make decisions and those decisions are used by God to mature us. Peter encouraged his people to strengthen their ability to choose right. We need to remember that making good decisions is a positive character trait that is usually learned by making bad decisions.
Let’s consider Peter’s plan found in 2 Peter 1:3-11, His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 11 For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
The list of choices and decisions go on and on. God teaches us to grow in grace and the knowledge our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The glory goes to Him. While he works in us to will and to work his good pleasure. He teaches us to choose right. Even though many of our choices were wrong in the beginning. Adam and Eve made some bad choices.
Rebellion against God is a choice. A very bad choice. Let’s look at the account of their choice. Genesis 3:1-7, Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. Eve did not think what was happening. Satan offered an opportunity to be like God. Wait! They were created in the image of God. Eve correctly pointed out that they could eat the fruit of the trees in the garden. Oh but not the one in the middle. Then she added “neither shall you touch it”! Now, it is not a good thing to add to, or take away from God’s word.
We might make every effort to cover our bad choices but Praise God! There is a way out. Rebellion is a choice and when we make a bad choice then repentance is a choice. Colossians 3:5-10, Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.
We are not to assume we can ignore our sin in hope of God fixing us. Holy Spirit will certainly do the work in our spiritual life but we have a responsibility to be obedient.
Jesus and John the Baptist began their ministry with a simple sermon, “Repent, and believe the gospel.” (Mark 1:4 & 9) Repentance is a heartfelt sorrow for sin, a renouncing of it, and a sincere commitment to forsake it and obey Jesus. There is a false repentance that is sorry to be caught. We must be certain we want to lay aside our sin.
Don’t sit around waiting on God to fix you. Take action! You can’t save yourself but it is never wrong to “”Put to death therefore what is earthly in you”. We have responsibility to actively seek growth and holy lives. We need to remember Jesus was beaten and crucified to pay the price of our sin. We need to apply ourselves to growth in grace.
Spiritual growth is a choice. 1 Peter 2:1-3, So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. 2 Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. 4 As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, 5 you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
Obeying God in difficult circumstances is a choice. You remember the account of the three young Jews who were taken to Babylon. The king had an image of gold 90 feet high and 9 feet wide. He proclaimed that everyone was required to worship that image when they heard the band play. When those 3 Hebrews were not obeying the worship command he ordered them thrown in a furnace heated to the point the soldiers were killed when they threw them in the fire. This is the account of their choice. Daniel 3:16-18, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. 18 But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”
When the king came to watch the fire consume these men he said he saw 4 men in the fire. I can’t promise you God will always honor obedience in that way but I can tell you God will honor those who honor him’
Godly living is a choice. Romans 6:1-4, What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
Loving others is a choice. John 13:34-35, A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
I hope that sometime in the past you have recognized the need to surrender your life to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. That is the most important choice you will ever make! The fact that God knows what choice we will make does not take away from us the responsibility to make a choice. In fact, not making a choice is a choice and one we are personally responsible for. To not choose Christ, to not repent, to not grow spiritually, to not obeying God, to not living in a godly manner, to not dealing with our anger issues or to not love others are all choices that are made every day to our harm. My prayer for you is that you will make good choices and grow up in the Lord. Do you need to accept Christ as your Lord and Savior? Do you need to obey him in baptism? Do you need to share a testimony of God’s goodness in your life? Now is the time. Today is the day. Do it!
All scripture quotes are from: The Holy Bible: English standard version. 2016. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.