It is important to become aware that at every moment of our life we have an opportunity to choose joy. Life has many sides to it. There are always sorrowful and joyful sides to the reality we live. And so we always have a choice to live the moment as cause for resentment or as a cause for joy. It is in the choice that our true freedom lies, and that freedom is, in the final analysis, the freedom to love.

~~~Henri Nouwen

If it seems evil to you to serve Yahweh, choose today whom you will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell; but as for me and my house, we will serve Yahweh.

~~~Joshua 24:15

Life is full of choices. We must choose things as simple as what we will wear today or where we will eat. More important choices come in the form of our finances, behavior and relationships. Our choices can lead us to harm or produce great good.

When I was the pastor of First UMC Mansfield, Louisiana, I was called out on Christmas Eve early in the morning to minister amid a tragic event. A young firefighter had been killed when his truck was struck by a train and immediately burst into flames. The event was sad enough, but the circumstances made it worse. It was Christmas and he was newly married with a baby on the way. If that were not bad enough, the chief told me that he did not have to respond to the call. He made a choice and it ended tragically. Sometimes we do not even have a clue as to what might happen as a result of our choices. I realize that this event is simply a random act, but we are in control of so many things. We cannot protect ourselves from things which we do not know, but we can make choices that better our lives. Bear in mind that the results of our choices can be incredibly significant.

The young man made a choice that he thought was the right thing to do, but chance took his life away from him. We all have choices to make about our daily activities, and there are things that are out of our control. We must remember that there are quite a few choices that we enter with our eyes wide open. Let us look at a few of them.

We choose how to react to situations, both good and bad. It is purely your choice whether you turn the other cheek or strike back. Are you going to continue an argument or move forward? We are faced with these types of choices every day. Joshua refers to the greatest of all choices. Choosing God determines much about how we make every other choice. Who do we serve-God or the world? This choice is where we begin.

As servants of the true God we choose a path in life that brings blessings. Many times in our lifetime, we have a path or direction to choose. These choices come in the form of a job opportunity, a chance to move to a bigger or smaller home or choose a good over evil. Life is full of these types of decisions, and we must make the most of them.

I feel that the biggest choice we have is how we react to an offence or a hurt. Statistics bear out that personal argument and disagreement are involved in many violent crimes. What does that mean? It means that how we react to hurt feelings, insults and unfairness is a great determining factor behind violence. Make the right choice and move forward. Nouwen stresses that choice gives us true freedom. A freedom to live life in a way that we determine. That is what choice really is-freedom.


Lord, You have given me the freedom of choice in my life. Help me to make the right choice and to always bear in mind that my choices have grave consequences. Protect me from the temptation to be led away from you by the lure of the world. Keep me on the path that will usher in your goodness to my life.


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