August 25, 2006

 

Encouragement for Today

 

“Choice Theory”

Lysa TerKeurst; President of Proverbs 31 Ministries

 

Key Verse:

John 15:16, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit – fruit that will last.  Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.” (NIV)

 

Devotion:

It all hinges on a choice.

 

When it comes right down to it, everything we do hinges on one simple yet complex, six-letter word.  If you had to guess what this word might be, what would you say? Wealth? Health? Esteem? Dreams? Chance?  No, I would have to say the word is “choice”. Knowing how to make good choices determines a lot in life. When to go, when to stay…when to stop, when to start…when to push, when to pull back… when to rush, when to slow down… when to say yes, when to say no…when to believe, when to doubt…when to spend, when to save…when to fly high, when to stay low…these are a gift and a curse all wrapped up in one.

 

God is the author of choice.  The Bible makes it clear that we love Him only because He chose to love us first, and we choose to know Him personally because He chose to reveal Himself to us first (Matthew 11:27). 

 

What a beautiful thing God gave us in the ability to choose. For it makes our choice to love Him true, genuine, and eternally significant. At the same time, what a tragedy that God gave us the ability to choose. Adam’s wrong choice to sin caused a separation from God that only the death of His son, Jesus, could repair. But I trust our all-knowing and all powerful God, and take this gift of choice with a prayerful and sometimes trembling heart.

 

I know my own propensity toward bad choices and have made my fair share of them. The sad part is, I usually know when I’m making a bad choice, yet my self-centered flesh forges ahead past all the warning signals flashing through my mind. Oh I do fine with the “rules of life” type choices. I am a rule follower by nature. I don’t reuse postage stamps missed by the cancellation mark, I return my grocery cart to the designated place, and if I ever found a bundle of cash I would seek to give it back to the rightful owner.

 

No, the choice that I struggle with is letting the spirit of Christ, my first love, have full reign in me. Oh how I want to model a gentle, quiet spirit but what a struggle it is for this wild-blooded Italian woman! So much of my life hinges on this one choice. I have to consciously return to my first love every day. In big ways and small, I have to make the choice to reveal the reality of Jesus in my life.

 

This happens only when I remember that it is because of God’s grace that He chose me first. And then I must accept the mission that I have been given in that I’ve been “appointed to bear fruit – fruit that will last.”  The reality of Jesus in my life is manifested through the fruit-bearing process.  But I must make the choice to be “pruned” for it to be possible.  I must choose to have deliberate sin pruned from my life and then choose to make Him a priority – my first love – which waters the soul and fills me completely.  Only when I bear fruit in this way, can I genuinely praise Him and feel those tugs toward eternity that make having a personal relationship with Him complete.

 

My Prayer for Today:

Dear Heavenly Father, I thank You for choosing me to be Your child from the beginning of time.  Only because of this choice do I have the ability to know you personally and experience the reality of who You are in my life.  Give me the wisdom to make good choices that bring about the reality of You in my life, and grace when I fall flat on my face.

 

Application Steps:

It is easy to talk about making good choices in life, but not so easy to do when we’re caught up in moments of desperation, frustration, or anger.  So, I encourage you to journal your response to the following spiritual principles of how God relates to you in light of His exceptionally good choice to make you His child:

 

  1. Upon reflection, how does it make you feel to know that God chose you for Himself before the creation of the world to be His child?
  2. What is significant about His choice?
  3. What does God say about those that choose to follow Him (read today’s key verse and power verses)?
  4. In what ways are you allowing God to “prune” your fruit tree?  If you aren’t allowing Him to do so at all, list at least one way that might be needed.

 

Reflection Points:

What good choices have you made recently that reflect the reality of Christ in you?

 

What not-so-great choices have you made deliberately that brought about less-than-desirable consequences?

 

What role has choice theory played in where you are in your personal relationship with God at the present?  Do you delight in Him because you are grateful that He chose You?  Or are you distanced from Him right now because you’ve selfishly chosen to make your wants and desires your first priority?

 

Power Verses:

Deuteronomy 30:19b-20, “I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses.  Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.” (NIV)

 

John 7:17, “If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.” (NIV)

 

Ephesians 1:4-6, “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.  In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will to the praise and of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.”

 

Additional Resources:
Living Life on Purpose  by Lysa TerKeurst

 

Life Planning Journal  by Lysa TerKeurst

 

Radically Obedient:Radically Blessed  by Lysa TerKeurst