We Have the Power of Choice
It is recorded in the Old Testament Book of Genesis that after God had created the world and filled it with all kinds of animal and plant life, he decided to make man in his own image. God used the dust of the ground to create Adam and Eve; male and female he created them in his own likeness and image. Among other things, the image of God in man refers to the elements of personality, intelligence and self-determination. Theologian-anthropologist Walther Eichrodt states that the Creator’s greatest gift to man is that of the personal “I.” The personal “I” is that which distinguishes the personal life of a human being from the life of an animal. God gave humans the ability to see, to hear, to smell, to speak, to touch, to feel and most importantly, to think. In Psalm chapter 8, David asked the question of God: “What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you visit him?” He then went on to make the following observations: “You have made him a little lower than the angels; you have crowned him with glory and honor; you have made him to have dominion over the works of your hands and have put all things under his feet, and crowned him with glory and honor.”
God has given us humans the ability to think. Because of this, we have the capacity to reason and to process ideas, and then make either intelligible or unintelligible decisions, either wise or unwise choices. This is the capacity to live within the moral image of God. Unfortunately, many of the choices that we make are often influenced by our moral likeness to Adam and not by our moral likeness to God. The Bible is clear that in Adam we all die, but in Christ we are all made to live. The quality of our life here on earth and the future of our life in eternity is determined by the choices we make. “The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6: 23)
It is also important to note that the choices we make in this life not only affect us personally, quite often they directly impact those around us either positively or negatively.
On March 24th of this year, a German Wings Airline pilot chose to deliberately crash his A320 plane on a scheduled international flight from Barcelona, Spain to Düsseldorf, Germany. All 6 crew members and 144 passengers were killed – the power of choice!
On April 30th, around 9:30pm, a 2-year-old boy in Arizona was hospitalized in critical condition after he had shot himself. His father had chosen to wrap his gun up in the sheets and leave it under a pillow on the bed. The toddler who was playing on the bed found the gun and discharged it shooting himself in the face. The father was subsequently arrested – another example of the power of choice.
God in creating us in his image and likeness has given us the attribute of self-determination. This means that we are responsible to make critical decisions as to how we live our lives – not just on a week to week, day to day basis but moment by moment. We are constantly making choices such as what to eat, what to wear, where to live, where to go to school, where to work, who to date, who to marry, who to vote for. When Moses was 120 years old and was preparing to die, he said to the Israelites: “This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you, life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life so that you and your children may live.” (Deuteronomy 30: 19)
We must all make a choice for both ourselves and our households with regard to serving God. In fact this is the most important choice we will ever make. We have a responsibility for the spiritual well-being of our household – those who live under our roof and are under our authority. If we house them, feed them, clothe them, we are responsible to God for them. In the 10th chapter of Acts, when Cornelius the Roman centurion invited Peter to his home so he could learn more about Jesus, he and his entire household were baptized. And in the 16th chapter of Acts, when the Philippian jailer took Paul and Silas to his home after God had sent an earthquake to free them from their chains in the inner prison, he and his family were saved and baptized. One day we will give an account to God for the choices we make – for both ourselves and our households.
Today, let us choose to love God more than anyone or anything; with all our heart, with all our soul and with all our might. Let us choose to love others regardless of who they are or what they do. Let us love them even if they do not love us in return. And let us choose to love our denomination, our district and our church, for this is the place where God has planted us so we can grow, worship and serve. Let us determine to be good stewards giving both our time and resources to the All-Wise, All-Knowing, Always Faithful God, who chose us in Christ for Himself. To Him be glory in the church, both now and forever.