The Power of Choice

There are times when you and I feel powerless to do anything to affect the world around us. We may feel powerless against the price of gas, tragic world events, family tragedies. Despite things like these, we have power over self due to our power of choice. We can choose our companions, our occupation, our residences, our lifestyles, but, ultimately, we can choose our eternal home.

Fatalism denies this choice. Calvinism denies this choice. However, God’s word has much to say about choice, and we should respect the power our choices have.

The Power In Our Choices

God will not overrule our choices. He may disapprove of our choices. God may even try to warn us about our choices, but He will allow us to make the choices ourselves. Hebrews 6:9 speaks of promises to persuade us. Hebrews 3:15 warns us against choosing to harden our hearts. Ephesians 4:30 pleads for us not to grieve God through the choices we make, and Genesis 6:6 illustrates a time when God is grieved by man’s choices. There are consequences, but He does not overrule our free choice. Ezekiel 6:9-10 records God describing Himself as broken by their choices.

Psalm 78:40-41 describes God being limited by the choices of Israel. Their actions demanded reaction from God. Think about Jesus in Matthew 23:37 when he expresses how often he would have comforted Jerusalem and gathered her as children. Unfortunately, He could not due to their separating themselves from Him.

Satan cannot overrule our choices. Satan may make us think he leaves us no choice, but he cannot veto the choices we make. He cannot force Jesus to sin in Matthew 4 nor could he drive Job away Job’s choice whether or not to sin. In Acts 5, Satan uses physical threats against the apostles to dissuade them. In all of these circumstances, these individuals defy Satan. He can be resisted (James 4:7), for he is powerless against our power to choose. Ephesians 6:11 calls us to put on our godly armor to withstand Satan’s efforts.

Our Responsibility

God gives us the opportunities and the power to choose, but accountability comes with these choices. I choose my priorities. I choose how I use my time. I choose where I am during worship. Our freedom comes with the weight of accountability for how we use that freedom. Moses, in Deuteronomy 30:15, tells the children of Israel that they have a choice between life and death, between good and evil. Their choice is to follow God and prosper or fall away and face God’s justice. Our choice is the same. Day to day, we can either choose to follow or deny God. We choose eternal life or death in the decisions we make.

lesson by Tim Smelser