Tuesday, March 3, 2009

"Make good choices!"

I was challenged by a bible study I am doing (A Woman of Excellence) to truly listen to what the Lord was showing me and following His voice. The whole chapter was on obedience. The author, Cynthia Heald, writes "obedience is submission, habitually yielding to authority." She points out how we are always given the choice. The Lord is never slack in showing us the right way, pointing out the right path, leading us with the right directions...yet do we follow, listen, submit...obey?

All these little things started coming to mind: those time where you hear in the back of your head "you shouldnt be doing this..." yet you continue in what you are doing? Those moments when you know you are fuming with unrighteous anger and are telling yourself "just stop and give it to the Lord. Pray. Get into the Word." and yet, you continue to seeth? That moment when you choose to (watch a movie. watch tv.listen to music.go hang out with friends.go shopping.stare-at-a-wall.surf the internet.watch a youtube video.fill your time with unnecessary busyness) instead of (pray.read the word.enjoy fellowship.have a good quiet time.study.wash the dishes.do laundry.clean your room.work.enjoy family)? I know i'm not the only one.

So check out this parable. I had never read it before...or atleast not with the idea of obedience underlying within it:

"But what do you think?
A man had two sons, and he came to the first
and said, 'Son, go, work today in my vineyard.'
He answered and said, 'I will not,' but afterward
he regretted it and went.
The he came to the second and said likewise.
And he answered and said, 'I go, sir,'
but he did not go.
Which of the two did the will of his father?"
Matt 21:28-31a

Lord, forgive me for those times that I do not make good choices with my time, resources, and life. Forgive me for telling You that I will do your will and then foolishly turn and do otherwise. Give me the humility to turn from my ways and seek solace in your arms. Thank You for Your mercy when I recognize my willful disobedience and seek to change my ways. Father, when I hear Your voice, may I be bold and brave enough to listen and do according to your will. When I am given the choice, as you so graciously lay them out in front of me, give me Your Spirit to guide my actions. Thank you, Lord, for choosing me. Thank you for choosing to have a relationship with me and for giving me the chance to work in Your vineyard. Amen.

A bit of encouragement. I have humbly realized that when I try to "do good" on my own, nothing good comes out of it. I end up drained and worse off than when I made my resolve. There is nothing good in us that can help us be a blessing for the Lord. It is Him living in us that causes us to make any kind of "good choice" in our lives. It is our willful surrender to His Spirit that gives us a fighting chance to choose the right answer...go in the right direction...be led down the right path.

Philippians 2:13 says "...for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure."

He is the one doing the moving in us. He is the one giving us the chance to change. And get this...He does it for His good pleasure. He gives us the will to obey...so that He can delight in us! How amazing is that?

A little bit more:

How many times have I said "make good choices!" (to you, maybe?) with the intention of using a cliched quote to brighten one's day...get a smile...but never with the thought that that person would actually truly listen to me and "make good choices?"

I never thought I would find those words profound. Or even use them as an exhortment in my own life. I mean, how often have you gone through your life using some catch phrase without stopping to think about how it affects your own life? Hmm..well, for me, that all changed with this bible study. I realized how much I need to take into account the words that i say to others and truly live them out in my life. For me, it was being obedient to the Lord in the choices i make....what is it for you?

What choices is the Lord asking you to make this week?

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