The Choices We Make

Well, life is getting back into the usual swing. Classes have begun, summer truly is coming to a close, kids are back in school, and life has become busy once more. Each day we wake up and are met with choices. Some simple, like what do I want for breakfast or does this shirt match my socks? Yet some are more complicated, and not often as obvious. Choices like, how will I treat people around me today or how will I react to the struggles that may come? The world we live in today can be pretty scary, we see terrorism continue to harm people across the world, we are in the middle of an election year where both candidates would rather point fingers than try to solve real issues, and each day we walk past people who may be going through some of the darkest times imaginable. I remember being a leader at an elementary camp for my church and over hearing a conversation from two boys asking each other what they would do if someone attacked the camp. Woah, the fact that two young boys would think of this because our news is filled with the reality of how dark our world is, was something that made me think about a lot of things. In that moment I thought of the verse in Romans 12:21 which says, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

You see, we all have a choice to make, a choice every day. We must choose to stand for what’s right. As believers, this is especially true, because we follow a savior who devoted his life till the very end to helping the lost find freedom. One issue that I see in many of us, myself included (that’s why I can say this with certainty), is that we love to complain about the issues around us, yet never take the step to stand for what’s right. Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” He is saying what has been written in the scriptures whether he knew it or not, but he was echoing spiritual truths. We shouldn’t sit back and say, “Oh woe is me!” (Insert sarcastic eye roll). We are called to stand up for what is right and spread the gospel to everyone we meet, because everyone we meet was made and called by God to do great things. Every. Single. Person. Not just the people we like, but the ones we don’t as well. Isaiah the prophet in the Old Testament had to tell God’s people of this fact as well, in Isaiah 1:17 he says, “Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.” We have been called to stand when others hide, because we have choices to make that can change the world.

Each day is an opportunity.

During a break at my work, one of my co-workers began a conversation with me. In our conversation he told me that he likes to be madd. He said it is mad with two d’s (You thought I spelled mad wrong didn’t you ;P). The word means, “make a difference daily. My co-worker is an older gentleman and he told me that he tries to each day make a difference in another person’s life, big or small. When he told me this I thought to myself, “Okay God, I’m getting the message.” We have the choice each day, we can make a difference. Maybe it’s a compliment to a friend or a conversation with someone who is hurting. We have no idea what others may be going through, and our words of life could be a factor that helps them see the love of Christ when they don’t feel loved. We can be the voice that tells them they are so worth loving. Each day, make a choice to get madd.

Love God, love people.

I love the part of the bible where the religious leaders try to trip up Jesus, and they are proven so wrong. There is a moment where the leaders asked God what the greatest commandment is, and I just picture Jesus being disappointed that they missed the point. He replies by saying the greatest is to love God with all that you are and the second is like it, to love your neighbor as yourself. It boils down to loving God first and loving people because of that first love. So this means that we have to have a relationship with Christ first, we have to come daily to him and know that we can’t do it alone. We need Christ, and we need to be close to him. Then, once we understand that, we can show love to others. No matter what they have done or are doing, we need to treat them with love and respect. Even though they may be living against God’s will, we need to be an example for their life. No one likes the Christian on the street yelling to the lost that they are going to hell, instead we need to show them that life is found in Christ.

Take a stand for those around you.

This means that we have a responsibility, we have to stand up for what is right even when it’s hard. We must strive to do what is right, and we can only do this through the power of the Holy Spirit. We need to be like Batman. Now before you check out and think oh he’s talking about super heroes again, just stick with me. The character of Batman has a story much like many of ours. A young Bruce Wayne has his life altered at a young age. His parents are murdered, leaving him under the care of the family butler. He lives in a city corrupted by gangs and dirty cops. He has a choice, he can either live in this world, or he can take a stand. So he puts on the cape and cowl, going into the darkest parts of his world. Joining with a police commissioner trying to do what’s right in a department that is failing. He battles maniacs with schemes to bring down the world and kill Batman, yet he fights. Even when all hope seems lost, he fights. We have an opportunity, maybe not to wear a cape and cowl, but we have an opportunity to fight when all hope seems lost. The coolest part is, we can fight with a God who has already won. He defeated death and sets us free. We have the opportunity to fight for the winning side and take a stand for the people around us.

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I love science fiction stories that involve time travel. In almost every story, there is reference to the fact that every choice made matters and can affect the future. While we can’t time travel and see where our choices lead, what we do have is the ability to make the right choices here and now. We need to remember that we have a calling on our lives, a calling that is bigger than us. Each day we are given new opportunity, we can love God and through that love people, and we can take a stand for what’s right. Isaiah talked about how we have responsibilities to stand for those who are weak and later in Romans we see that we have been called to overcome evil with good, now the choice is up to you. We can choose to complain about the situation around us or be fearful of the tragedy we will come across in our personal lives, or we can choose each day to live for Christ.

Make a choice to live for a creator who loves you, and change the world.

-Joshua Thomas

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