One of the delights of growing up is the privilege of making our own choices. FINALLY we can choose—what we eat, what we wear, where we go, what we do with our time, how we spend our money, and so on and on.
But very soon we discover that something else comes along with our choices. It is called RESPONSIBILITY.
Some choices are better than others. It is the law of consequences.
Something we all know. But a reminder is always good too. Like everything else in our lives, our choices need continual UPDATING. Like our software. And our PCs. And our live streaming.
Our choices make us what we are. As we go through life, we need to keep reviewing them. What seems good at one point can be BETTER if we look at it closely. We must keep IMPROVING.
And the options keep changing. What is available to think about keeps changing. Even what we see in Scripture keeps changing, deepening, growing. Brother Nichols had a saying with each new day,
“Better today than EVER before…
Let us sing this new song
as we turn the page o’er.”
As soon as we wake up in the morning, the choices begin, and they continue all day, and all during our life. At times there seem to be too many options; at other times, not enough.
But we need to choose carefully, consciously, whether the choice is a principle, a preference, or simply taste.
At the end of the day we will BE what we have chosen.
When we stand before Christ, we will BE what we have chosen.
Some choices are of little concern, others have long term consequences. I would like to mention a few of the most common choices we have to keep making.
Choosing what we think about.
Who or what decides what you think about in the course of the day? Remember, the Bible tells us we must capture our thoughts. And they are great wanderers that, like our dog, need a strong leash, or… who knows where they will jump next!
2 Corinthians 10:4–5 4For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,
Note that Paul uses the analogy of a battle, it is thought-warfare, and he says it needs the proper weapons. What kind are they? “Not carnal.” But they are mighty weapons, useful for:
2 Corinthians 10:5 5casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.
There is no area of our lives where we are more—or less—in command than in our thoughts. Nothing takes control there, nothing dominates, except we allow it. A thought may jump in, but we don’t have to shelter and keep it.
Is it really a matter of choosing? It is, if we make it so. We can keep the door of our mind open and welcome every vagrant that happens by, or we can keep the door closed and allow to enter only the thoughts we select. The choice is ours.
Choosing what we talk about
Who decides what we talk about: our friends, our children, our associates in business, the news media, what we happen to see around us, the idle gossip that flits by, or …?
Remember the law in Israel?
Deuteronomy 11:18–20 18“Therefore you shall lay up…”
Who is responsible for the laying up? Of course, WE are!
18“Therefore you shall lay up these words of mine
If we would have God’s words in our heart and soul, WE must lay them up!
18“Therefore you shall lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.
When should we talk about them? Verse 19:
19You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when …
Note the times to be SPEAKING of them:
… When you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.
20And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates,
Do you realize this is literally ALL our waking time? The law of God was to be on their minds continually!
With any of us, we are most likely to talk about what we are most concerned about, or what we have recently heard or seen. The internet is a great concern for us these days. Where do we browse? WHY do we go there? It is something to keep aware of. What are we looking at? What we SEE so easily sticks in our mind, whether good or bad, and soon becomes part of our conversation.
If the subject of everything is continually UPDATED by our commitment to God and His Word, His wisdom, His precepts, His great and precious promises, won’t these topics become the core of our conversation?
Choosing how we spend our time
May be this is the most obvious, but we need to keep considering and RE-considering it.
Because we are choosing constantly between the options at hand. Are we WISE in our choices? Are we getting WISER and more WARY as time goes by?
Another question to ask ourselves: Are we choosing for the pleasure of the moment, or for the ETERNAL consequences, for the glory of God and our progress toward our goal of life eternal?
Paul has the command that covers it all:
1 Corinthians 10:31 31Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
Ephesians 5:15–16 15See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
The problem with choosing how we spend our time is that it is hundreds of small decisions that happen all day all the time. Each decision is quickly made and gone by. If we do not think about it, if we leave it to default, our thought-life can quickly become a spiritual setback. No benefit, no direction, no spiritual profit.
The solution here is… HABIT. Do you have to think exactly how to get out of bed? Or how to walk? or clean your teeth? or swallow?
This is the purpose of automation in industry, or programming in computer science. Whatever can occur “on its own” without human intervention or conscious direction is a benefit.
How much more in our spiritual lives! The more we train our thoughts to keep on track, the more we can use our conscious minds to keep our thoughts UPDATED with good spiritual directives. This is the reason for Paul’s advice to the Philippians:
Philippians 4:8 8Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—think on these things.
If our thinking is right, our actions will be right, and the more we practice right attitudes and thinking, the more our decisions will be right. It is sometimes no less than amazing how much progress we can make when we have a definite objective and plan.
When we stand before Christ and give account for the choices, we will want them UP To DATE with HIS standard. Now we want to be taking in all we can of HIS thinking, HIS way of life more and more as we approach the end. We want to be able to say then that we chose HIS way, again and again, and it was the VERY BEST!
We want to do all we possibly can to be LIKE Him, so He can say to us, “Well done.”