Continuing our look at relationships, leads us to consider how choices and change relate to our connections. God did not make a mistake with providing choice in the Garden of Eden. It was and is part of the grand design for healthy relationships…and you’ll remember that was His purpose from the beginning.
One choice, though, changed the dynamics of this powerful privilege. Choosing what God prohibited separated humanity from the source of life. God’s response was not to remove the privilege of choice but to narrow the options, change the environment and use choices to guide His precious creation back to Him! All of life is designed to help us make choices that lead us back to relationship with God. Unfortunately, in every area of life, there is a way that seems right to man but leads to death.
The first choice to reject the words of God and choose what He prohibited actually removed the privilege of choice. It enslaved humanity to the natural world. The freedom of choice does not come until freedom in Christ is found. Without Christ, we are slaves to self, vulnerable to the Enemy and condemned to seemingly good choices that lead to death!
Scripture is abundantly clear that fallen humanity cannot choose life or return to God without Christ. The only living choice natural man has is the choice to receive Jesus Christ or not. It is the most critical choice of our earthly lives; it determines our eternal destination and opens the door to abundant living in this land.
Warning: Not to decide is to decide…choose Jesus.
With Jesus in our lives, the privilege of choice in earthly matters provides power and provision for vibrant relationships and abundant life. The Poverty Bible defines impoverished as those without choice. That’s a thought-provoking definition! The matter of choice (versus slavery) affects every aspect of life, not just relationship with others. Pursuing knowledge of God, His purposes for us and His ways empowers us to choose well. God neither enables us nor overpowers us. He guides us well and understanding His ways helps us with our earthly relationships.
Choice is like mercy; it is something we like to have but often don’t like to give to others. The tendency to want to control others is almost universal. Our intentions are often good; we want the best for another but lack the fortitude to endure until the other person learns to choose well. There is no alternative, though! Relationships are destroyed and individual growth hampered when we seek to control others. God’s design is perfect and empowering others to make good choices for change is His way.
Healthy, mature individuals must take responsibility for choices that create balance in every realm of their life: relational, physical, mental, moral and spiritual. In an unhealthy relationship one person takes responsibility for making choices for another. Sometimes they take that responsibility by enabling the person to continue making poor choices. Other times, one will bully another into making the right choice with threats and punishments. Empowering someone requires allowing natural consequences to create pressures that move a person toward better decisions.
God designed the world so that every realm of life would point us back to Him. Pressure points us to the correct path. Relationships often falter because inappropriate amounts of pressure are employed. How much is enough?
As little as possible. As much as needed.
Seek the wisdom of God as you allow the pressures from choices to create change in the lives of others. The responsibility to pursue balanced relationships in the relational, physical, mental, moral and spiritual realms cannot be abdicated or usurped. It is personal and individual. Along the way, trust God to bring the perfect amount of pressure to bear to catch attention and draw to Himself. Don’t get in way; simply seek His face and walk faithfully toward Him…and pray for others to do the same.
A great ‘rule of thumb’ for every choice is this:
Will this bring honor to my Savior?
Choose well. He is worthy!
Do you have someone you need to empower? What steps will you take to do that? Follow this website or like the Facebook Page to receive notice when the next piece of this series publishes: “Setting Goals”