Dr. David Jeremiah. in his book Forward, suggests one of the reasons why we flounder in moving forward is a failure to diminish our distractions. And our distractions are often created by a failure to choose what is best.
“Understanding that not all things are equally important is an essential part of the forward life,” Jeremiah writes. This, of course, calls for us to set our priorities in order to stay focused and “accomplish what really matters.”
The most important choice and the greatest priority in life was forever settled when Jesus answered the question, “What is the greatest commandment?”
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets (Matt.22:37-40).
Rob Culbertson, in his book, Do I Love God? expresses it this way: “Do you have emotions and passion for, and devotion to, the one living and true God, as well as a settled commitment that He is the Lord of your life and everything to you?”
Loving God, as well as loving people is a choice. Is there anything in your life that keeps you from the kind of heart-felt love that Jesus describes? Culbertson suggests several issues that may hinder our total devotion. Work. Recreation. Pleasure. Poor time management. Or an adiction to technology. In addition, our failure to make the right choices may be hindered by sin in our lives or just plain laziness.
Everything in life is a choice. We choose our friends, how we manage our time, the lifestyle we pursue, and even the music we listen to and the books we read. All of these impact our ability to move forward spiritually. Psychologist and author, Dr. J. Martin Kohe, did not overstate the case when he wrote, “The greatest power a person possesses is his power to choose.
“One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words,” observed Eleanor Roosevelt. “It is expressed in the choices one makes. In the long run, we shape our lives and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility.”
To move forward spiritually, we often must make choices that require us to say, “no” to good things, in order to pursue what is better, or best. Often it’s difficult to deny someone’s request because we don’t want to disappoint them. However, our values, goals, and priorities may require us to do so. In her book, How to Say No When You Usually Say Yes, Maritza Manresa offers some gentle suggestions on how to say “no.”
- I’m sorry, but I simply can’t at this time.
- I have a personal policy…
- It doesn’t look like I’ll be able to, but if anything changes I’ll let you know.
- It looks like I’m going to have to pass this time.
- I just can’t fit it into my schedule.
- That is such a good cause, but I’m already supporting other good causes.
- No, thank you.
Dr. Jeremiah reminds us that “we can’t do everything, but we can always do our Father’s will. We can fulfill the design for our days.”
The rousing exhortation of Israel’s leader, Joshua, in his final days, continues to serve as an important reminder to make good choices.
“But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” (Josh. 24:15).
Reach forward to God’s eternal prize by making good choices.
–Ken Weliever, the Preacherman