Choices; May 24, 2017

Joshua 24:15 “But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

The whole Bible is about choices, and nowhere is that more clear than in this verse. Whatever anyone says, free will is not an illusion. We try to deny the reality of free will only because if we were not free to choose, we would bear no responsibility or accountability for our choices. In some ways free will is a paradox, because God knows how we will choose before we make that choice simply because He is outside of time and is aware of it all at once. That’s where the whole matter of predestination comes in. I’m not sure Paul did us any favors by using that term! (Romans 8 and Ephesians 1) We are free to choose, but we bear the consequences of our choices. The only human being ever to make only righteous choices was Jesus. I sometimes wonder if He ever made poor choices that weren’t sinful, such as using the wrong tool in His work as a carpenter. That’s a pretty idle question, but we do need to remember that not all choices are matters of righteousness. Clothing choices, provided they are decent, aren’t a matter of righteousness, but they can certainly be wrong! Even so, we have to bear the consequences of choosing to wear stripes with polka dots, or whatever. If we will seek the Lord in all things, He will even guide us in things like clothing choices, perhaps by providing someone to give us good advice. It all comes down to the choice Joshua proclaims here, to serve the Lord. If that is our foundation, we don’t have to be anxious about any other choice.

Today is a remarkably appropriate day to be writing on this, because 48 years ago today, I chose to marry Cathy. (Actually, my choice was made in February, but May 24th was the day of our wedding.) It was a superb example of God’s grace, because at the time neither Cathy nor I was walking very close to the Lord. Our whole relationship has been a matter of choices, as it really is for every couple. I think that’s one reason Paul links marriage so closely to the relationship of Christ and the Church in Ephesians 5. Each of us had chosen someone else prior to our meeting, but God in His grace made it clear that those were not right choices, and then He brought us together. Actually, the day after our first date I wrote my parents that I had found the girl I wanted to marry, and we telephoned them with the news of our engagement before I had a chance to get their reply. I’m enormously grateful God enabled me to make that choice so firmly, and so quickly. I feel the choice of a spouse is the second most important choice we make, after the choice that Joshua expresses here. With that first choice in place, everything else follows.

Father, thank You for Your amazing grace. Thank You for choosing and using me. May I indeed fulfill every purpose for which You created and chose me, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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