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My struggles are real, and at times, they are consuming. They rotate in a cyclical pattern, waiting for me to do something different in order to change the outcome. From this, I have learned the power of choice. I cannot undo what has already been done. I can only change the person I am independent of where I am. That ability is a gift from God, and it’s up to us as to how we use it.
Our outcomes are predicated upon our ability to prioritize character goals over life goals. It’s what differentiated Peter and Judas when they both betrayed Christ. Though they went down different paths, their impending choices were not foreign to Christ. He was well aware of what was coming and chose to not intervene.
In John 6:63-64, we read about Jesus having early knowledge of Judas’ betrayal:
“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him.”
In John 13:36-38, we also read about Christ foretelling Peter’s denial:
Simon Peter said to Him [Jesus], “Lord, where are You going?” Jesus answered him, “Where I am going you cannot follow Me now, but you shall follow Me afterward.” Peter said to Him, “Lord, why can I not follow You now? I will lay down my life for Your sake.” Jesus answered him, “Will you lay down your life for My sake? Most assuredly, I say to you, the rooster shall not crow till you have denied Me three times.”
Christ knew the importance of choice and the importance of growth. Judas’ betrayal lead to the death of Christ, and that was a necessary component for our salvation, but it didn’t have to be carried out in that manner. Peter had room for improvement as it pertained to his faith, but again, it didn’t have to be built in this way. Those choices weren’t mandatory for Peter or Judas…yet that is the path they took…and for it, Judas killed himself. The guilt consumed him. Peter, on the other hand, went out to preach the gospel of Christ.
Peter’s choices cemented the value in living life to its fullest, accepting that failure was to be a part of his growth. He found refuge in God’s forgiveness. Judas could have done the same, but he chose not to do so. Judas’ outcome reminds us that God is His infinite wisdom and love will not force us to choose Him.
Often we want God to intervene when we make poor choices, but if that were always the case, then we really wouldn’t have choice in its truest sense. We’d come to resent God because our freedom would only be a façade. What we do with our lives is our choice, and we see over and over that God respects our decision.
Making Choice Personal
One of my biggest regrets has been choosing to stand still. Fear paralyzes me into dreading the unknown. What does it cost, exactly, to embrace the unknown? It’s the price of the present. I may be scared that life can get worse in the unknown, but I forget that life can also get worse exactly where I am. When my choices are solely driven by fear, I have cast aside my faith for doubt. God can’t make up the difference if I don’t take the perceived risk to trust that He has me covered.
If God is dwelling inside of me, then my decisions will start to align with where He would have me to go. If I’m listening, He will help me to reroute when I start to go down an undesirable path. I don’t want to end up like Judas, who was scared to live with Christ. I pray I’m like Peter, in that I’m too scared to live without Christ.
Each day I must remind myself that for all I have suffered, I have conquered more. For every bad decision I have made, I have progressed more. Whenever doubt creeps in, I have to tell myself over and over again, I have choices. I can choose to lay my trust in God, or I can wallow in self-pity. I can choose to get lost in my yesterdays or I can put in work to make my tomorrows a reality. For every commandment God given to us… every guideline prescribed…God doesn’t force us to follow one. It’s our choice. My life is my choice, and for better or worse, God respects those choices. So step forward in faith; God will take care of the rest. He is the originator of choice and He always chooses us.Print This Post