The Choice is Yours
Life is not an adventure of smooth sailing, not even for the Christian. The answers to its complexities are not always simple. My own life has been filled with temptation, failures and moments when I strayed from God’s leadership. Each day is a continual growth process under the guidance of God’s Spirit. We often pray and ask God for His leadership but when has God ever wanted anything different for us? It’s not so much a matter of whether or not God wants to lead us as it is a matter of this: how much we want to follow God’s leading.
Here’s something I don’t have to pray about. The Lord’s desire for my life should also be the personal goal for my life as one of His children. Part of this is done when I reflect the character of Christ to those around me on a daily basis. People go on religious quests as an effort to wipe the slate clean of personal sins. They achieve some sort of epiphany or state of religious awareness and come back proclaiming how God changed their lives. The change is shown by a tirade of four letter words, outbursts of hatred and anger, and other behavior that was at least as bad as it was before the life changing quest began. Who are you kidding? Yourself! You are the only one fooled. A life that is transformed is transformed to the image of Christ and the proof is found in God’s Word as it speaks of His Son. I’m not talking about the world’s idea of Christ but I’m talking about the record of Christ as found only in the Bible.
The choice of how we behave ourselves is not something beyond our reach or outside of our own control. The choice, my friend, is y o u r s.
Sin has a death grip on us. We’ll live with it as long as we’re here. Though the presence of sin remains, though, we can experience real victory over the power of sin.
The Old Nature is still here. It’s goal is to dominate the believer as it already dominates men and women who remain lost and without Christ. Influence from the Old Nature cannot be eliminated but it can be minimized and prevented from dominating the Christian. We can turn by God’s power and grace from a self centered life to a Christ centered life. Are you interested in that?
This is a matter of spirituality, harmony between the believer and the Holy Spirit of God. For the Christian, this is also a matter of cleansing.
“But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:7-9
Even Christians get spiritually dirty. The path to restored fellowship lies in confession, not to a priest, but to our Mediator Jesus Christ. This keeps the “lines” open between us and the Lord. There’s nothing like the joy of godly fellowship that results from being open with God and walking the way He wants us to walk. This is a choice that we often fail to make. Invitations are given for us to make things right with the Lord but we often (with the best intentions) decide to do it some day. Why do we wait so long?
Once our fellowship with the Lord is restored, how long does it last until we do something else to hurt it? I don’t know about you, but I really want to maintain that harmony as long as possible. I’m not trying to maintain my salvation in the sense I’m afraid I’ll lose it. We’re dealing with the joy of our salvation and our daily walk with the Lord as a Christian.
Those who desire this harmony must learn to yield to God’s will. While God has made provision for us to do this, we must decide that’s what we want.
Do I want to glorify the Lord in my body and in my spirit? How strong is my desire to please Christ, even when no one is watching? Am I letting the Old Nature control me? Are there self-imposed conditions that require my holding back myself from unconditional surrender to Christ?
Each question is soul searching. I guess it just comes down to how much of myself is surrendered completely to Christ.
The Lord is waiting for my decision and He’s watching my actions, actions that speak louder than words. There are two choices before me. Either I can let God’s Spirit bring me to the point I am willing to yield to Him or He will convict me of my sin until I do yield.
At a specific point in my life, I trusted Christ as my savior. I know where it happened, who I was with, the approximate time of day and the circumstances that finally broke my heart to receive Christ. In the following years, I learned more about the Lord. Ups and downs? Sure. I didn’t mature overnight and neither does any other Christian.
It took time for me to learn to serve the Lord and develop a greater understanding of His ways. Resting on God’s faithfulness to me is still part of my learning process. Isn’t it that way with you too?
Several years after I trusted Christ for my salvation, I came to a spiritual crossroads (one of many). God was calling me and He wanted all of me. That day, I surrendered completely to my Lord. It was my joy to give Him all I had: my voice, my arms, my legs, my tongue, my talents and abilities. I also remember where I was when I did that, why I did it, and how God performed wonderful things in my life after that. What happened to me? I gave myself as a vessel to God to do whatever He wanted to do with me. Have you done that yet?
If you haven’t totally surrendered to God’s will, do it now. Stop reading and give it all to Him.
I wasn’t the first Christian to make such a surrender and I know that I won’t be the last one to do it. Honestly, I remember the first time as something special. Christians should make this a daily practice because we are going to surrender to somebody or something every day of our lives.
“Be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” Ephesians 4:23-24
This is how every thought is turned to obeying Christ. Since it’s not on God’s wish list but is stated as a command, we choose whether or not we’ll obey His instructions. It is still true: to obey is better than to sacrifice!
“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5
The power to do this doesn’t come from the Christian, his church, his religious creed, or himself. It comes from the power and might of the Lord. However, we do have the power as Christians to decide to yield ourselves to the Lord. Choose this day whom you will serve. Have you decided yet?