“Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!” 1 [Deuteronomy 30:16. NLT] 2
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. [Romans 12:2. NLT]
7Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Come near to God and He will come near to you…. [Romans 4:7-8. NIV] 3
Had God not given us free will, we would be living in a very different world. We would be living on a planet designed for us. A planet God called, “…very good!”. (Genesis 1:31). In fact, it was a perfect place for man. But, for man to be perfect, he has to be imperfect! Yes, you read that correctly.
Suppose you never miss-spoke; or made any other mistake—at all, …ever. Suppose you didn’t even have to think about, or research, anything. You would just automatically do the perfect thing—every single thing, every single time. You would be the perfect, …robot. Not a god; but, neither would you need to seek the One True God. And, let’s be honest, wouldn’t your existence as a robot be incredibly boring? I thank God that He did not intend to populate the earth with robots. Instead, He gave us free-will. And, “Yes.” It is both a great gift, and something of a curse.
Without free-will Adam and Eve would not have committed their “original” sin. Obviously, I don’t know how living on earth would actually be, had they not eaten the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Nor does it make any difference. They did, and that’s that.
We now find ourselves living on a broken planet, in a broken culture. But, as Christians we do not have to live broken and defeated lives! God made a wonderful way for us. A way that conquers all sin, for all time. That way is to get next to Jesus, and stay there. The longer you do, the more control you gain over sin. Over time, it will become the exception rather than the norm in your daily life.
How does this actually happen? Well, there are two things at work. While God gives us control of our lives, He actually wants us to turn that control over to Him. At first, we are either reluctant or don’t understand the process. We maintain control until we crash and burn. (Note: God does not cause it to happen; He will however, allow it to happen). Why, because He now has you in a “teachable moment”. God knows our strengths and weaknesses—as does Satan. God wants to help you, Satan wants to exploit you. This is where you must use your free-will to turn it over to God! Actually, the best time to do that is before “take-off”. So, again, “…get next to Jesus, and stay there”.
I said there were two things at work. The first is, God will use your stumbles as opportunities to grow your faith—but, only if you let Him. The second thing is that the closer you are to Jesus, the further Satan will be from you. And that, is a fact! So, what choices are you making? Choose God! Choose new life, eternal.
Thank you, Jesus, for providing the way for us to conquer sin. Thank you for growing my faith over so many years, …and yet, I still have my share of hiccups, stumbles, and the occasional “crash and burn”. Thank you for your patience. And, Jesus, please keep me within arms-length, for I would be totally lost without you. And, we both know how close I came to that!
Jesus, I pray for everyone who reads this post; that they will “grab onto you for dear life”, because that is exactly what we get from you, …for eternity.
Jesus, direct us into a life of honoring and serving you. Let your light shine through us, so that the unsaved will want what we already have.
In your name I pray. Amen
1Moses is reminding the people he led out of Egypt of God’s will for them. This was shortly before they crossed the Jordan River and entered the Promised Land.
2 NLT: Scripture quotations marked [NLT] are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
3 NIV: Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervon publishing House. All rights reserved.