“But if you refuse to serve the LORD, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15).
Joshua takes a risk after leading the Israelites into the Promised Land. But choice is risk, and God made you to make choices.
Yeah, you’re right. Many things are beyond your control. You can’t choose your family. But you can choose your friends. You can’t choose the cards you’re dealt, but you can choose how to respond to the cards that come your way.
How many decisions do you make daily that affect your situations one way or another? For better or for worse?
Although there are many things you can’t choose, God gives you the freedom to choose a whole bunch of things in your life.
Joshua understands this. His heart aches for them to make the right decision. To serve the one true God. To remember how good God is. And honestly, that’s my heart for you. I want you to seek God for yourself. Hopefully, these weekly columns touch you in profound ways. There’s nothing I want more than to see a community set on fire for Jesus Christ! But like Joshua, I realize my limitations. No matter how much I try, the choice is yours. No matter how much your family prays for you, the choice is yours. Despite any and all efforts to convince people of their dire need for Jesus, I can’t change people. I can’t re-wire brains and convert hearts. Only Jesus can do that. But whether or not He does is up to you.
For the most part, we are creatures of choice. I hope you agree. But just in case you don’t, consider the following poem God has recently spoken to me:
I choose. What’s important to me and what’s not important to me. What matters and what doesn’t matter. How I spend my time and with whom I want to spend it. I choose.
I decide. When I want to quit and when I want to persevere. The things worth fighting for and the things out of my control. How much I want to apply myself and the means upon which I accomplish it. I decide.
I determine. How much of my life I give to God and how much I keep to myself. The extent of my surrender or the measure of my fear. How much I trust the One who is able and realize I am unable. I determine.
I judge. The people around me or the strength of my own relationship. How far they are from Jesus or how close I am to Him. The speck in their eye or the log in my own. I judge.
I choose. To rest in His sufficiency and quit trying to be enough. To get away from law and focus on love. I choose.
I decide. To walk with the One who foresees my future. To trust in His work without seeing it sooner. I decide.
I determine. That I’m living in freedom. I’m walking in victory. In Christ, there’s no power in Hell able to stop me. I determine.
I judge. There’s something ahead. Can’t you see it? Get out of that bed. It’s a revolution of love. A provision of peace. A hill of hope. People breathing grace through their nostrils. A world shaken to its core by the gospel. There’s Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Goodness. Faithfulness. Gentleness. Self-control. I judge.
You see, life is tough sometimes. Unfortunate things happen. Families break apart. Careers go down the gutter. You often feel unloved, unable, and worthless to the world around you. Why? Because of the things you can’t control. The things beyond your pay grade. The things you only wish you could decide.
Despite all of the things you can’t decide, you have a handful of decisions to make each and every day. Decisions, decisions…I know!
But guess what? You don’t have to be alone. God wants a part in your decision making. The Psalmist writes, “…He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name” (Psalm 23:3).
Joshua says you have a choice to make. Right now. And whomever you choose to follow is sure to determine your perspective, lifestyle, and destiny. May you choose God? The choice is yours.
Isaiah Pauley will be a senior at Wahama High School this fall. His blogs and videos can be found at www.crosswordsblog.weebly.com