Should I eat the cake or the apple?
Should I get involved when someone else is being bullied, abused, or harmed in some way or stay out of it and hope it stops?
Should you spend the first part of the morning in prayer or get a few more minutes sleep?
Should I cast blame on another to save my pride or do I confess my error and sin?
We have choices to make all throughout our days. The result of those choices has a direct impact on the direction our lives take, the peace we experience and the status and health of our relationships with others. Choices are powerful.
We have the choice to do what we know is good for us – or not. Like the choice to eat the apple instead of the cake.
We have the choice to do what we know is right – or not. Like the choice to get involved when someone is being harmed instead of butting out.
We have the choice to do what Scripture says draws us closer to God – or not. Like the choice to pray or the choice to sleep in.
Choices are powerful and can influence who we become. Our choices can impact the peace of our soul and the health of our relationships. God has given us the power to choose, the power to influence our own lives for good or ill. It all seems so clear and so… well… easy. Make good choices and life is good. Simply use our power for good and not evil. And yet, easy as it may be, we so often don’t. We have the power to choose and yet we are powerless to choose, how can that be?
The Apostle Paul wondered the same thing (Romans 7:14-24):
14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?
So often we see the problem as our personal weakness, a lack of will power. Paul says the problem is deeper than that. The problem is that we deal with a force that is greater then we can overcome. He says that his inability to make good choices is not his weakness but sin’s power. It sounds a bit like “the devil made me do it” but it’s not. It simply to say that we are held captive and continually influenced by the power of sin. And therefore only one power can overcome the power of sin. Only one thing is stronger – GRACE.
Here’s what Paul says in verse 25 of Romans 7:
Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!
Paul knows the only answer to his dilemma – and ours – is the grace of God that comes through Jesus. We often consider the work of Jesus Christ to be a work that gets us into heaven some day. And it is. But it is also so much more. Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit he breathes out on us is the power to live and to live holy lives, even now. Through the power that comes through Christ we have the ability to make good choices, to avoid bad choices.
So, bottom line is, in Jesus Christ we have the power to choose RIGHTLY. Which means, the more time we spend in the presence of Christ, the more we make Jesus Christ our companion, the more power we will find to overcome our tendency to make bad decisions and to rule over our ability to choose.
The power to choose is the power to live and live well. In Jesus Christ we have that power. Let him move in you more and more and you will find yourself choosing wisely more and more often.
Holy high-five to you,