By David Faust
It’s unfortunate that expressions like “pro-choice” and “the right to choose” have been co-opted by abortion advocates. When properly understood, the ability to choose is one of God’s greatest gifts.
We don’t get to choose our birthdays, our height, or the color of our skin. But we decide what we believe, what we value, and who our friends will be. Faith, hope, and love are choices more than feelings. At age 20, I decided to ask a young woman named Candy to marry me, and I remain grateful she chose to say yes.
ROCK OR SAND?
What kind of relationship will we choose to have with God? He determines what is right or wrong, but we decide whether we will do right or wrong. We can’t escape all hardship and suffering, but we decide how we’ll respond to them. When the coronavirus pandemic struck this year, many things were out of our control, but we could choose to live by faith and love our neighbors well. Every day we choose the Lord’s way or our own way, the narrow gate or the wide gate. We decide to honor the Lord or dishonor him, to build our lives on rock or on sand.
In his farewell speech to the Israelites, Joshua challenged the people to choose wisely. He used a form of the word serve six times in two verses:
Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped . . . and serve the Lord. But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served . . . or the gods of the Amorites. . . . But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord (Joshua 24:14, 15, emphasis mine).
CHOOSING TO SERVE
If we have made bad choices (and who hasn’t?) there still is hope, because, as Max Lucado points out, God even “repurposes bad decisions and squalid choices,” turning “debris into the divine, pig’s ear into silk purse.” Here are three important points that can help us choose wisely.
Serving God is a personal choice. “Choose for yourselves,” Joshua said. No one else can make this decision for you. Even if you grew up in a Christian home with parents who love the Lord, you must make a personal choice. Will you serve him, too? HasGod blessed you with spiritual shepherds—godly friends and faithful teachers who help you understand God’s Word? Merely hearing God’s truth isn’t enough. Have you decided to trust and obey?
Serving God is an urgent choice. “Choose . . . this day.” Don’t wait for a more convenient time. Don’t wait till all your problems are resolved. Don’t wait until you graduate or retire. “Now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2).
Serving God is a far-reaching choice. “As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” This emphatic declaration came from an old man. Joshua died at age 110 (Joshua 24:29), so by now his offspring were senior adults themselves! Our choices have long-lasting consequences, affecting generations yet to come. That’s why Moses exhorted the people, “Now choose life, so that you and your children may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19).
Personal Challenge: In your prayer journal or on a piece of paper, write these words and fill in the blank: “To better serve God, this week I will decide to ______.”