For those who live overseas for a long period of time and return to America, one of the consistent challenges many face is the incredible amount of choices here compared to the rest of the world. Have you been to the bread aisle of the grocery store lately? It is not just white versus wheat anymore. Something happens psychologically when a person goes from having very little to choose from to much to choose from.
Having choices is an evidence of a free society and a free people. Those who are enslaved against their will have a limited number of choices from which to choose. It is grossly unjust to prohibit one person from making his or her own decisions in a given situation.
However, when we consider those in prison, we find people who once had the ability to make a choice and they failed to make the correct one based on the laws in our society. These men and women, in most cases, knew the law and chose to break it for one reason or another. Now their choices are limited and they must suffer the consequences.
The average person also has choices to make every day that may not result in prison, but can result in unwanted circumstances. A fundamental truth is everyone of us has choices that lead to danger and choices that lead to life. Many times a person was raised from childhood a certain way and has a difficult time discerning what is best in a given situation.
The Bible in Galatians 6 provides us with a very strong life principle regarding choices: “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” (vss. 6,7)
In agricultural times, the principle of sowing and reaping was much more apparent. What you put in the ground was what you produced. In the same way, when we make a choice only from our flesh or, another way of saying it, from our own selfish desires, it often goes against God’s Spirit and God’s best in that situation. Rather than making the difficult, but right, choice, we can often make the easy, but selfish choice. This has consequences for everyone.
In family life, we see this happen all the time. A husband or wife does not guard his or her heart and eyes and opens the door for a glance or a thought toward another person of the opposite sex not their spouse. This leads to more and more justifications until the person makes the choice to leave the marriage and the commitment they made to their spouse on their wedding day.
Another family life example occurs when a father or mother, in frustration, says something harmful to their child. This seemingly insignificant event stays with the child to tear them down rather than build them up. A word or phrase so small is a seed planted that grows into something much larger and much more destructive.
The little choices you and I make have life and death consequences. Why not make the choice today to “not lose heart in doing good” and “do good to all people” as the Scripture above commands us. Making this choice will result in life that will reap great results for a lifetime.
William “Carey” Northington of One Master Ministries in Xenia may be contacted at OneMaster.org.