The Freedom to Choose
From the beginning, mankind was set apart as unique in nature (Gen. 1:26-27). Many characteristics distinguish mankind from the rest of God’s creation: self-awareness, imagination, the conscience, and our independent will (freedom to choose) are several examples.
Despite our uniqueness among created beings, humans still tend to blame the conditions around them for their behavior, as if we were all animals of the forest that must bend and adapt to what’s happening around us. Many theories have been advanced to explain our behavior: inherited behavior through our DNA, parental upbringing, and our environmental surroundings. But who is really in charge of my choices in life?
We are responsible for our actions
Our behavior is to be the result of our thoughtful decisions. Moses had to contend with the influences of Egypt (Heb. 11:24-26). However, it was up to him to make the right decisions. We learn that we are accountable for our decisions and our own lives, just as Moses and so many others have been.
God’s word is filled with instructions about taking responsibility. For example, we are told to overcome evil with good (Rom. 12:19-21). We can be appropriately angry, but we are not to sin in our anger (Eph. 4:26-7). John teaches us that we are to be faithful until death (Rev. 2:10). Why are we told to be faithful if we are not responsible for our actions?
Christ and His will (not circumstances) should be the driving force in our lives. Jesus, our ultimate example in everything, obeyed despite His circumstances, as 1 Peter 2:21-23 teaches.
God has given us the power to choose
Some people act like helpless victims that have fallen prey to the world. God commands us to take the initiative regarding our spiritual lives. As Romans 12:1-2 states, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
Being a disciple of Christ is a choice. If you choose to follow after Jesus, then make the choices that sustain and strengthen that decision, not undermine it. As Luke 9:23 instructs, “…If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.”
God has given us the ability to choose whether or not to come to Him and be saved. He did not create programmed robots that would automatically serve Him. Instead, He has left that decision up to us.
God will hold us accountable for all our choices
The Bible speaks of a Judgment Day, which is coming (Rom. 14:12; John 12:48). When the Judgment comes, we will not be judged according to the different circumstances of our lives, but what we made of those circumstances.
God is just, and He will judge each according to his or her own work, by the standard of His word. Where will your choices take you?