Monday, April 15, 2013

The Choice Is Ours...We Choose

               Yesterday, our pastor said a word that has been rolling around in my mind ever since. We have been studying in the book of Ephesians, and the lesson series he has been teaching is called “Walk Well.” In Ephesians 4:1-2, Paul writes and tells us that we are to walk worthy of the calling to which we have been called. He goes on to tell us that we are to walk in humility, (some translations have lowliness) as well as gentleness and patience. But what he said poked my spirit and the Lord has spoken to me in an area that I have been struggling with through the simple word we know as “Choose”.
                He spoke to us about the choice that we are to make on a daily basis. We have to choose to walk worthy, we have to choose to walk in humility and gentleness and patience. We have a choice to either serve God or serve ourselves. As I pondered on this word this morning, the Lord took me back to the book of Joshua. I have been struggling with serving the Lord in the capacity He is requiring of me lately. I have served within the church walls for over 10 years. I have served in just about every ministry there is and gave
everything I had to the ministries He called me to. However, the past few months He has been calling me to a different ministry. A ministry that no longer requires me to be within the church walls, but to be in a place of solitude, a place of study, a place of quietness so that He can pour into me the words He wants to be heard. This has been a hard place for me, I have been struggling with it for some time now, and it wasn't until today that He showed me how to serve Him right where I am.
 “Now, therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord! And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:14-15
                Joshua has brought all the people of Israel together, and he asks them to make a choice today. They are to choose which god they want to serve. They can choose to serve the gods of their fathers, the gods that Abraham served before the Lord God called him out from among them, they can choose to serve the gods of the Egyptians, or they can choose to serve the Lord God, who has freed them from the bondage of slavery, who has given them this land upon which they now live. The choice is theirs.
                We have a choice as well. We are given the choice everyday to serve God or to serve the gods of this world. There is no in-between, there is no half-way with our God, it is either all in or all out. But the choice is ours. The word choice means a “deliberate act of will or decision.” (Dictionary Bible Themes) I have been given a choice, I can either serve the Lord in the capacity He is asking me to now, or I can choose to do something else.

                We are all given a choice everyday to serve the Lord our God, or to serve the gods of this world. Some days I have found that I struggle with this choice. My flesh doesn’t want to do what He is asking me to do. The way He is asking me to serve Him now is much harder than serving Him within the walls of the church. But deep down inside I know that to serve Him with all that I am is truly the greatest desire I have. To serve God means that we make ourselves servants, we give to Him our all. We have to choose to give Him everything we have, this includes our time, our attention, our words, our hopes, our dreams, our desires, and we lay them down and say, “Not my will, but your will be done.”  He only asks that we make the choice. He asks that we determine in our own hearts if we will choose Him or not. Jesus said that it is impossible to serve two masters, for we will either hate the one and love the other. (Matthew 6:24) So therefore, we have to choose.  
                This has been a struggle for me, because I believed service to be something that we did, when in all reality serving the Lord is something that we choose. Pastor Chuck Smith stated that the “choice is not whether we will serve God or not, the choice is which god you will choose to serve.” We all serve someone, we all serve something. Lately, I have been choosing to serve my flesh, which tells me to “just rest, take a day off from this thing God has you doing, etc, etc.” We all make choices every day. We choose to follow Jesus today, or we choose to follow our own sinful flesh.
                Serving the Lord does not mean that we serve Him only within the confines of our church walls. Serving the Lord means that we yield to His leading, we yield our lives to His control and give Him the right away with our lives. He wants our service, He deserves our service. Paul tells us in Colossians 3:23 that whatever we do, we are to do it as unto the Lord. When we give our lives to Jesus Christ, He asks that we choose to serve Him. It is because of what He has done for us that motivates us to serve Him with all our hearts, our souls, our minds and our beings.
                “The Lord demands our absolute service. He will not permit us to divide our actions between Himself and someone else. ‘Do All’ is the divine call and claim.” (F. E. Marsh) The Lord demands, not in the sense that we do or die, but He demands because He alone deserves our absolute service. Whatever He is calling us to do, we must do it with all our heart, all our soul and our entire mind. Every time I choose to not do what He has called me to do, I have said to my Lord and my God, “I choose someone else”.
                Serving the Lord means that we have wholeheartedly surrendered our will, our desires, our dreams to Him. We have chosen to yield our lives to His control, we have chosen to follow Him wherever
He leads us because we have seen and experienced the glory of His presence in our lives. We have seen and experienced the power of His salvation, the greatness of His grace, the abundance of His mercy and we choose Him above all others. Our relationship with God is a choice we make every day. We can choose to draw close to Him and choose to serve Him in whatever capacity He currently has us, or we can choose to serve the gods of this world, and our own flesh.
                Choice, a simple word that can change the course of our lives in the blink of an eye, in a moment, our lives can turn from God and back to our own selves, all because of the simple choice we have made. Whatever it is that you do, wherever it is that the Lord has you serving right now, choose today to serve Him first, in any way He so desires. It may not be the ministry you thought He was going to give you, but He has chosen you for this time, this purpose, this season, so choose to serve Him with all you have, He deserves it. In Jesus Name, Amen and Amen.