One way of looking at life is a string of choices that determine life outcomes. There are many voices today telling us that the outcomes of our lives are not our responsibility. While that may be sometimes true, our lives are the outcome of the choices we make. The Bible reminds us that the follower of Jesus has the ability to make choices that produce godly outcomes.
We are just a few weeks away from the calendar rolling over to 2024. It is a great time to evaluate the outcome of our choices over the last year and then to implement some tweaks for the new year. Let’s touch on a few truths to strengthen our resolve to make better choices in 2024.
First, this is obvious be need to be stated. The follower of Jesus Christ has the ability to say “No!” to wrong choices. The Apostle Paul encourages us to take full advantage of our changed life in Christ. “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions.” (Romans 6:12) We make conscious and unconscious choices every day that will draw us closer to God or pull us away from God. Paul writes, “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body.” My choices determine who or what controls my life. I need you to stop and think about this. A poor choice in the moment can lead to life changing consequences. And even if it doesn’t, it is just as significant as if I giving away control of my life to another influence, “to make you obey its passions.”
Second, my choices can only serve one of two masters in my life, myself or God. We read, “Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.” (Romans 6:13) This is also worth pondering. Who or what is my choice promoting? One choice will pull us away from God, “as instruments for unrighteousness.” The other is to present ourselves “to God as instruments for righteousness.” The ungodly choices give priority to my natural desire, while the Godly responses give priority to God’s desire for my life.
A question is answered here that makes all the difference in the choices the follower of Jesus makes. Paul writes, “but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life,” We are obligated to give priority to God honoring choices because of what Christ has done for us!
Finally, the follower of Jesus is without excuse. We make many excuses for not making Godly choices in our lives, but none of our excuses are valid. Period! Paul removes all support for our poor choices when he writes, “For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.” (Romans 6:14) He reminds us that every believer has the power through Christ to say “No!” to poor choices.
This is an internal spiritual battle that every believer must fight daily. The effectiveness in living for Christ is greatly enhanced by the regular practices of the spiritual disciplines of our faith: Bible reading, Prayer, Scripture Memory, Solitude, Journaling, etc.
As we look forward to 2024, let me leave you with this saying, “There are only two choices on the shelf, choosing God or choosing self. Be careful what choice you choose, because in the end the choice you make, makes you!”
-Pastor Joe Parkinson