The Essence of Making Right Choices
A fresh morning greets you. And, with it comes a multitude of choices both (big and small), activities, and distractions. Go ahead and congratulate yourself for just being up! But once things get going — and you get that cup of coffee — you must begin. Now you have a big choice to make: Do I let my busy day — no, not my busy day, my crazy, hectic, full of moment-by-moment decisions — drag me down? Or do I choose as the Bible tells me to “walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16)? This, my friend, is an important choice. And, with every command from God, it also means we can choose not to walk in the Spirit.
Now, you might be wondering, What does all this information about walking in the Spirit have to do with the choices I’m facing? I’m just running errands or going about my daily business. There’s nothing so spiritual about that.
Or, you might be thinking I’m at a crossroads today? I’m in a real crisis. Why isn’t she telling me the steps to walk through the decision I am facing…where to work, who to date or marry, how to take care my kids, to home — school or not, where to invest my money? I know all about these situations, and more. I’ve had to make choices about loved ones with cancer and parents failing in their nineties. I know about the scary stuff teens face and get into. I’ve lived through financial insecurity and having to decide whether to get a job or stay home.
So the big question you may be thinking is, How does walking in the Spirit help me solve my problems and help me make right choices? Well, I’m glad you asked! For therein lies the secret to making right choices. In John 14:26, Jesus tells us that “the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”
When you walk in the Spirit, you have God’s Holy Spirit guiding and instructing you. He is by your side as your helper as you make your decisions. With the assurance of God’s guiding hand, you’ll be well on your way and more confident as you tackle your options.
But maybe I’ve gotten a little ahead of myself. Maybe a more basic question you are thinking is, What does it mean to walk in the Spirit? When you choose to walk in the Spirit, your life, speech, actions, and reactions will be marked by what is referred to in the Bible as “the fruit of the Spirit.” Galatians 5:22-23 lists nine qualities, characteristics, or attributes — or “fruit” — that show the whole watching world that you are in tune with God, that you are choosing to handle your day’s situations His way:
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
Now let me quickly say that walking in the Spirit does not mean you pretend that challenging choices are inconsequential. No, it means drawing upon the resources God provides for you to handle your day’s decisions—to handle it His way, to flow graciously, gracefully, and by His grace through your day with His strength and power…yet relaxed, calm, and in control with evidence of His peace, gentleness, and self-control. The Lord, through the Holy Spirit cradles our every moment and decision with His love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
Doesn’t this sound like a great solution to your potentially stressful decisions? Isn’t this a great way to tackle — or walk into — the choices you face? Instead of being angry, fearful, or pulling out your hair, you smile with joy and wondering anticipation as you wait to see how God will assist you as, together, you and He work through your every situation.
So to understand what it means to walk in the Spirit, in simple terms, it means walking in the Spirit means choosing to live each moment in submission to God. Walking in the Spirit means seeking to please God with the thoughts you choose to think, the words you choose to say, the actions you choose to take. Walking by the Spirit means letting God guide you each step of the way. It’s letting Him work in and through you so that you bring glory to Him.
Of course, you and I both realize that walking by the Spirit isn’t easy. I’m sure you’ve noticed that as a believer who has been born again by the renewing work of the Holy Spirit, you still struggle with sin. You’ve probably felt like the apostle Paul who stated, “I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh” (Romans 7:18 NASB). He bemoaned the fact that “the good that I will to do, I do not do” (verse 19). I’m sure you’ve been there and done that! So, what’s the solution? How can you get the upper hand in the battle that rages between your Spirit and your flesh? The secret is called “abiding in Christ,” which will again require some choices on your part.
Choose to stay close to Christ. “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).
Choose to spend time in God’s Word. “Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day. You, through Your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies; for they are ever with me” (Psalm 119:97-98).
Choose to spend time in prayer. “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man [woman] avails much” (James 5:16).
Choose to obey God’s commands. “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love” (John 15:10).
Choose to deal with sin. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
It is a tragedy when Christians don’t grow much beyond their initial spiritual birth. Yes, they say they are Christians, but they seem to habitually make wrong choices, and therefore, they habitually exhibit just small evidences of fruit. They produce small pieces of something that looks more like raisins. Oh, it’s fruit, but it’s dry, shriveled up, and not very pretty!
God wants you to flourish — to blossom and bloom! To exhibit lush, mature spiritual fruit, to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). Therefore, you have another choice to make: Do you want to grow to spiritual maturity? Do you desire to bear much fruit? If so, your spiritual growth will require some tough choices on your part — choices you will need to make day after day, and many times each day. Somehow people manage to choose to do the things that are important to them. So, how important is walking with Jesus to you? Hopefully, it is becoming more and more important!