Erwin McManus, Uprising, p. 237
The world we live is the product of billions of choices. Each of every person who has every lived has had a hand in creating this world. Our choices create the lives that we live, and our lives shape our corner of the world by affecting the lives of those around us.
Many of us have had the wish to go back to a specific moment and make a different choice. We wonder how our lives would be different if the choice we in made in that moment was different.
Though we know in our heart of hearts, as Eddie Money sang in that great 80’s song, that we can’t go back. The past is the past and we can’t go back and make different choices. Our only option is to deal with our circumstances as they are now.
I have to realize that the life that I am living right now is the product of the choices I have made. Yes, I have been affected by the choices of other people, but I had to choose how I would respond to those choices. No matter how we frame it life flows out of the choices we make. Each day we are faced with hundreds of little choices, and those choices mold us into the people we are and will become.
This is scary a reality. After all I know myself and I know how often I make the wrong choice. I know how easy it is not to exercise because I am too tired or how easy it is to eat the wrong thing (is that a Reeses Peanut Cup Blizzard calling my name?) because my body is craving it. Each and everyone of us has tired to become a different person, we have had the good intentions, and yet, we have fallen short of our dream. Let me encourage you: Things can be different!
First, we have to realize that our problem of making the wrong choice is connected to the reality that we are lead by our flesh. Our flesh focuses on the immediate and seeks to satisfy our bodily desires. It is our flesh which leads us to sin. It was Eve’s flesh that convinced her to listen to the voice of Satan and eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It was Adam’s flesh that caused him to desire Eve more than he desired God.
Read what Paul wrote about the flesh:
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God (Romans 8:5-8; ESV).
When our choices are guided by the flesh we are unable to please God and to live the way He created us to live. Thank God our lives and our futures are not totally dependent on our choices! Our lives can be different because of the choices God has made. The choices of God form the heart of the Good News! We need to remember that God’s choices are added into the equation of our choices to shape the future.
Earlier in Romans Paul wrote:
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. (Romans 5:6-11; ESV)
God’s choice to not give up on humankind after the first sin led to God’s choice to intervene in history to rescue, redeem, and restore His creation from Satan, sin, death. He did this, not based on our good choices, but based on His character. This choice God made gives us hope, in spite of the sinful choices that we have made. We have hope for the future because God chose to intervene on our behalf.
Our futures are created by the choices that are made. Our lives are affected by our choices, the choices of the people around us, the choices of Satan, and most importantly the choices of our Heavenly Father.
The reality that God is active in the world, as well as, in our lives is at the heart of the Gospel, which has the power to change the trajectory of our lives. We can be different people, and our futures can be shaped for the better, when we open our hearts to the choices God has made in this world.
Thank God our futures are not totally dependent on the choices we make!