The Challenge of Choosing

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
Eleanor Roosevelt

What will you choose to do today?
What attitude will you choose to have?
Will you choose a smile, a kind word and a gentle service…
Or will you choose to be self-centered and harsh?

     The challenge of choosing means that I will choose (make a conscious decision)  to do one thing or another.  It means that regardless the situation or the way a person may act or treat you… you choose to be content, joyful and loving. We all have this blessing and privilege to choose our attitudes, our words and our reactions.

Notice the word choose means “to select freely after consideration.”  You see we must carefully select our actions and words every day in every situation.  Some situations are easier because we are in a good mood, being treated with respect and around people who love us.  But often we are not treated with respect (whether by accident, misunderstanding, or on purpose) and so are faced with the “challenge to choose” a good attitude, holy words and compassionate reactions.

Jesus was not treated well on a number of occasions, but he provided amazing examples of choosing to be holy.  Which is easier: a) to return evil and echo ugliness or b) to be like Jesus and choose a godly disposition?  No doubt, from a human standpoint, it is easier to choose a harsh word, a vengeful look or a terse reaction.  But be sure to realize that each of these “human” reactions are choices we make.  No one “makes you angry”; no one “makes you say an unkind word.”  They may highly encourage and influence… but only you can choose your reaction.

John teaches us about a small incident with Jesus where a multitude was in need of service and food. He asked Philip where the food would be to feed the people.  Philip responded in the negative (John 6:6).  However, Jesus chose to fixate on the issue at hand, not on Philip’s reaction.  Ultimately the 5000 people were fed and God was glorified.  John also highlights a horrible situation in which the Pharisees treacherously placed a woman in front of Jesus as he was teaching (John 8).  Again, Jesus chose his reaction and his words to be merciful to the woman and teach the Pharisees and his listeners.  Jesus did not allow the Pharisees to determine his reaction or his words.  He carefully chose his reaction.

In your life today… who or what are you allowing to choose your reactions and words?  Paul stated that we are to “rejoice in the Lord always…” (Phil. 4;4).  This joy takes a conscious decision on our part.                                                                                By Andy Burns

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