“And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever” ~Jesus
Here are eight choices anyone can make at any time:
- “It’s no big deal, it’s just porn. The house is empty and nobody will know.”
- “It’s been a hard day. I think I’ll stop by the liquor store and get something to drink so I can relax.”
- “I’m the pastor! They should be respecting me! I’ve been to seminary! I’ll show them how much hard work I’ve put in to studying Scripture by pointing out how terrible their sin is in my sermon. They don’t need anymore grace! They need to obey me and God’s laws!”
- “Nope! I am not forgiving that toxic person again!”
- “That’s it! I’m unfriending them and making sure everyone hates them on Facebook!”
- “He works hard for our family. It’s not a serious issue that he drinks all the time. The kids will be fine.”
- “God hates me! The pastor said that God hates people just like me! I can’t change how I am so I’m killing myself! God made a mistake by creating me!”
- “I’m allowed to sin all I want because all I have to do to get forgiven is just confess it on Sunday. So for now, I’m having fun!”
Decisions, decisions, decisions. We can regret our choices or we can allow God to help us make them. Here are the same eight choices, the only difference is the Holy Spirit is helping with each of them:
- “God, thank you so much for helping me not watch that porn. I know that’s not how you want me to look at women, so please, help me with these urges I have. You made me like this, so please provide a way that I can have sex how you designed me to. In the meantime, help me. I need relief.”
- “Man, it’s been a hard day. I’m tempted to go to the liquor store but I don’t drink. God, thank you for teaching me how to feel my feelings, bring them to you, and not be controlled by alcohol. I feel so free. Even on my most frustrating and difficult days, I’m free.”
- “Heavenly Father, although I’m the pastor of this church, thank you for teaching me that my identity is not found in this position. Help me to use my gifts to teach my congregation that they and I are on the exact same level with you. We are all saints because of Christ in us–equally. Help me grow into deeper knowledge of your grace so that I can exude the true gospel to everyone I encounter.”
- “God, I’m hurt! I don’t feel like forgiving them again! But because you have forgiven me, I am choosing to forgive them yet again. I know I would stay forgiven with you even if I never forgave them, that’s why I am forgiving them. I’m choosing to today! Please help me with my feelings, and with this pain! Teach me how to establish healthy boundaries so that I can protect myself from future harm, and bring me comfort, God…please.”
- “Heavenly Father, I’ve used social media for far too long to hurt those who’ve hurt me. I don’t want to do that anymore. Teach me how to exude the self-control you’ve given me in Christ, and to honor those who I don’t feel like honoring.”
- “My husband works really hard for our family, and I appreciate that. But God, you are going to have to strengthen me in regard to standing up to his over-drinking. It is impacting the kids negatively, and they shouldn’t have to see alcohol abuse all the time. Help me, God. I love him, but I need your strength to stand up to this.”
- “God, I’m in pain! I don’t want to live any longer and you see that! HELP ME! The pastor keeps telling me that because of my sin you hate me! I know that’s not true, so help me with these suicidal feelings! HELP MEEEEEEEEEE! I know I am your child!”
- “Dad, you are teaching me that confession doesn’t forgive me, all it does is allow me to agree with you, and that’s what I want to do. I’m tired of taking advantage of your kindness. I’m learning that I actually want what you want. I’m also learning that by being my true self, I can have the most fun! Continue to counsel me into your wisdom as I learn more about our loving relationship through Jesus.”
My friend, big or small, all of us make many choices which impact our lives as well as the lives of others. When we allow ourselves to be led by the Spirit, those choices can result in wonderful things. And when we don’t, the opposite can and will happen, eventually.
The good news is, as Christians, we have help with our choices! God’s own Spirit resides in our bodies! He will help us make every choice from big to small if we let Him! And when I say every single choice, I mean it! There’s no decision too big for our Creator that He can’t handle by guiding us in the proper direction. But at the same time, there’s no decision too small that He doesn’t care about it! Everything is small to God!
My Grandma used to pray over the strangest stuff, little things that would make me squint in confusion. Sure, she would pray for people who were struggling with addictions, and for those who were sick or sad, but she would also pray over the family dog or our vacuum.
“Grandma, God doesn’t care about that vacuum bag,” I’d say sarcastically.
“Oh hush your mouth, sure He does,” she’d reply, and then give me a warm smile.
She constantly brought God into the picture of every decision she made–every choice! Why? Because she understood the fact that He wants to be involved in every decision, and every choice.
Friend, this happens when we let Him live through us, that is, through our choices. Yes, we decide, but it is He who gives us the nudges in our spirits as to what we should do. If we are listening and being our true selves, we will organically allow those choices to come to life. As we do this, little by little, we begin to grow something in our lives called “fruit of the Spirit.” Fruit of the Spirit is simply outward results of consistently allowing God to help us make our choices (see Galatians 5:22-23).
For me, at first, this was like trying to cage a wild animal. I had a lot of learning to do from God’s Spirit–and even more importantly, I had a lot of unlearning to do. Graceless, poor teaching from others caused me to believe that God had extremely high expectations of me. Those same lies had me convinced I was constantly letting Him down. That was so wrong. God taught me this truth by helping me understand His grace.
“Yeah right, Matt! God gets disappointed in us every day! He has very high expectations of us! Liar!”
Friend, I’m sorry but you are wrong. What Jesus did at the Cross–and our faith in that event–has caused us to be completely approved by God in full. Jesus fulfilled all of the high expectations of God–which was perfection–for us (see Colossians 1:22, Romans 5:1).
And now, as God’s children, sure, He can be grieved by our incorrect attitudes and actions, but He is never disappointed–and He is never pushy. He is patient and kind. He understands us on a deeper level than even we understand ourselves. Our Father simply wants us to be ourselves as we live out our everyday lives while including Him in all of our choices.
So today, my friends, know this: Let God help you. While you take the kids to school, to your attitude toward your boss, with your husband or wife, and even with your congregation…involve Him. It doesn’t matter if it’s a big choice or a small one, God simply wants to be thought of and loved! He gives you choices. He lets you pick. No matter what you decide, He’s with you and won’t go away. So begin to let Him help you with all of your choices, today.
A prayer for you: Dad, thank you for being so kind to me. It took me so long to finally understand your kindness, and I know that even when I enter into eternity, I’ll still be learning about it forever. Thank you for helping me with all of my choices each day. Keep doing it. Right now, I lift up all who are reading this, directly to you. For those who think you are an overbearing, angry Father, help them realize you’re not. You simply want us all to be forgiven, and Jesus gives us that choice to make. After we do, we can then enjoy a deep relationship with you as sin-free saints in our spirits. You come to live with us, teaching us, correcting us, encouraging us, and loving us unconditionally. We are grateful! Teach us how to go deeper into this wonderful relationship with you as we make our choices today! Amen!
This devotional is from 60 Days for Jesus, Volume 3. Get your copy here!