THE POWER OF CHOICE - PART ONE
Again, friends, I want to say, thank you for welcoming me into your home today.
I want to speak on: The Power of Choice. And we are taking the text from Deuteronomy 30:19-20
19 I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; 20 that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.”
The Power of Choice
Father, we thank You again, for the opportunity You’ve given us to come to search the scriptures. We commit this time into Your hands; and we ask, O God, that it would be a blessed time, when You would speak to the hearts of all…in Jesus’ Name. AMEN!
Somebody has observed; and I quote this observation. He says: “One of the primary differences between us and animals is freewill. In the freewill is the power of choice.” And he goes on to say that, “The power of choice is a real power.”
Let me say that, all of life is a series of choices; and that choices are what decisions are made of. When you choose, you have decided. Everyone, with the exception of the one who is crazy, is making choices all the time. We make numerous choices daily. And for you to make a choice, you must have at least two alternatives – two options. No wonder God says, in our text where we read, that He placed two options before Israel. I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death. Two choices – two options: blessing and cursing. Two options! Therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live.
Let’s start with the power of choice beyond our control.
There are choices beyond our control. These are choices God and our parents have made for us: the choice of race, the choice of gender – male or female, the choice of where you are born. These are beyond your control, beyond my control. But the problems we have in life do not stem primarily from the choices God and our parents have made for us. Your problems do not stem from the fact that you are a man or a woman, black or white, short or tall, beautiful or basic. Some people have sort scape goats in these choices. They have blamed their misfortunes in life on their parents and on God because of either their place of birth or circumstance of birth, or race, or nationality.
In the Sound Bits or adverts, Christiana Amanpour of CNN, has before her interviews, she says to this young black man who had succeeded in life: You do not have a rich background that accounts for your success. (I’m paraphrasing). To which the young man replies, it is not what you have in your pocket that matters, but what you have in your head.
This young man is saying that what accounts for his success is not the choices beyond his control, but the ones within his control. Not until January 20, 2009, was Race released as a culprit for failure to achieve greatness in the United States of America. Race told the whole world that it was no barrier for anybody becoming the president of the United States.
I happen to be one of the people forced to stop accusing Race falsely. I had said to myself, with the knowledge of American politics, that a white woman must be president in the United States before a black man would smell that office, if ever. Barack Obama, whose father was a Kenyan, beat a white woman; beat a white man, to become the 44th president of the United States of America.
The power of choice within your control – within my control – that is more important than the one beyond our control. Failure of success in life is dictated by the power of choice within our control, and not the one beyond our control. The source of the problems we may have lies principally in the choices we make ourselves or fail to make. And what is of greater importance is how we choose, when we choose and what we choose.
The Power of Choice
How do we make a choice?
We choose by our thoughts, our words and our action or inaction.
Choosing by our thoughts, Many people, including Christians, do not know the role thoughts play in their lives. The power which thoughts have in determining the outcome of a life is revealed in Proverbs 23:7.
7For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.
As a man, a woman, boy or girl, thinks in his or her heart, so is he ultimately; so she is ultimately. In order words, you become what you choose to think or entertain in your mind. There is an Igbo proverb that says that murder is the product of cumulative thoughts. Jesus says in Matthew 15:19-20
19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. 20 These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.”
This is what determines what a man becomes – the thoughts of his or her heart. In the light of the importance of thought in determining the choices we make, God recommends the thoughts we should entertain. And that is in Philippians 4:8. And that is because of the importance of thoughts in determining actions.
8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—[think or] meditate on these things.
How do we make our choices? We make our choices by our thoughts; we make our choices by our words, we choose not only in thoughts but also in words. Words, some people say, are cheap. But I want to tell you, friend, that words are not cheap. If words were cheap, why would Jesus say, in Matthew 12:36,
…for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.
If you will give account of every idle word you speak, then words are no longer cheap then; they are expensive. If words were cheap, while would proverbs 18:21 say,
21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
And those who love it will eat its fruit.
Friend, watch what you choose to say. When Pilate vainly exonerated himself from the crime of crucifying Jesus by washing his hands with water, the Jewish religious leaders, desperate to kill Jesus said, “His blood be on us and on our children.” Matthew 27:24-25. They did not know the power of the choice they were making with their words; because forty years later, AD. 70, the Romans came and invaded and destroyed the nation. And the atrocities that were committed….in fact, one of the painful atrocities was that the Roman Soldiers would pick up a baby – a child, by his or her legs, and would dash the head against stone. Of course you know stones were abundant in the Land of Israel. His blood be upon us and upon our children.
They did not come back to the land till 1948.
Friend, what choices do you make daily? The most important choice is this: to invite Jesus Christ into your life, that He may be your Savior and your Lord. That is the most important choice in the whole world. Make it now.
Let us pray.
Father, thank You again, for the time we have spent in Your Word. I want to commit into Your hands, as many as are making this wise choice of inviting Jesus Christ into their lives. And I say, Father, give them assurance of that salvation; and destroy every work of Satan in their lives, no matter the shape or form of such works…in the Name of Jesus. Amen!