Choices, habits, and freedom

The gift of free choice. Humm….. I don’t know about it being a gift because for me it is almost like fighting a war that I often lose. While it is a great privilege to be able to have the right to choose my own thoughts, actions, words, and deeds, it is also a struggle that I am sure I am not alone in. You would think that it was a no brainer that a person would choose life over death. Scripture says that if we choose wrong(evil) then we reap death and decay. And how many times have we chose to do wrong instead of right, reaping death? How many times have you chose to speak words that were hurtful to someone before you even thought? Or allowed very negative thoughts run threw your mind all day? Or how many times did you chose to do the thing that you knew in your spirit (heart) that you should not do? It doesn’t have to be some huge horrible ‘big” sin that causes you to reap bad consequences. Anytime that we go against our spirit we quench the Holy Spirit and are choosing something that is causing it to decay, losing its power.

But the good news is that we can make right choices, following the spirit, and gain the spirits strength back. We can choose life. We can choose to think before we speak. We can choose to treat people kindly. We can choose to not eat the whole bag of chips. We can choose to follow the spirit, reaping life in abundance.

It is a challenge to deny ourselves in the beginning but it gets easier. Each time that we choose to follow the spirit, doing what we know we should do, it gets alil bit stronger. And as the spirit gets stronger our flesh gets weaker. With each “no” to ourselves our spirit grows. With each yes to our spirit it gets a little bit easier to say no to ourselves (our flesh, sinful nature, wrong or bad desires). It is a battle, but it is a battle that can be won.

Having a bad habit is often from not following your spirit. When you first did it(the bad habit) I am sure that you at least had that little nudging within you telling you to not do it. But you didn’t listen so now you have created a bad habit that may even have you a little bit mad at yourself. There is no need to beat yourself up about it because that will not change anything. Matter of fact, if you beat yourself up about it then it will take you even longer to gain control back over the habit. If we harbor Guilt and/or shame about something then we hinder our progress in overcoming it. There is nothing that we can do to change what we have already done. BUT there is something that we CAN do to change what we will do!!! We can start something new to take over the old. We can start something good to replace the bad. We can learn to live a life that we love and to love the life that we live!!!

It is all possible through following the spirit that lives within you. The Holy spirit will guide you into something new and enjoyable if you let him. He will guide you into freedom from something that has been holding you back. He will guide you into the peace that you crave. He will guide you into all truth that will set you free. It will never be a mistake to follow the holy spirit because when we do we know that we are doing what is best and life giving.

Having free choice is a great gift. Being able to have control over yourself and your life is an amazing gift because some people do not have that. But it also comes with responsibility. We not only have the control, we also have the accountability if we make wrong choices. We not only get the rewards of right choices, we also get the consequences of wrong choices.

We have to make sure that we use our free choice to choose to follow the spirit (our heart) at all times. We can count on the spirit to help us make the right choices. Where as the flesh/sinful nature/human side of us is only concerned about being self satisfied in the moment. The spirit knows what will bring lasting joy and peace and the flesh doesn’t. It is only worried about getting what it wants in that moment and doesn’t care about the consequences. I think it is safe to say that when we let our flesh have its way a piece of us does decay because we usually feel bad about ourselves after making a wrong choice and small piece of our self value or worth does die inside. And that is one of the major ways that the enemy does seek to devour us. He knows what it does to us when we make wrong choices and decisions over and over again. He knows the impact that lack of self control has on us. He knows that as long as we lack self control he can get us to make bad choices.

The thing about it all is that it all comes down to a choice. And when we have been making wrong choices for a long time it has in a sense become a natural response. We may have become numb to the “don’t do that” feeling in our heart in that certain situation. We may have formed the wrong belief that we can’t do any better or will never break free from the bad habit. But the truth is that we can break free and we can make good choices. Will it be easy? Umm probably not. In fact it may be very hard in the beginning but it will get easier.

We have to lean on the grace of God to help us make the changes we need to make and decide to follow the Holy Spirit instead of our flesh. We have to realize that we can sit threw the emotions of wanting to do something and they will pass. We have to realize that we do not have to do something just because we have a desire to do it. Sometimes it will help me to keep myself busy doing something while I am having a wrong desire because it helps to distract my mind from the desire. Sometimes I will journal my feelings and then truths of the situation. I will remind myself that I have self control, I do not have to give into wrong desires, I can do this because Jesus is helping me, I am breaking a bad habit and starting a good habit, I deserve better, I am getting closer to freedom each time I resist the desire, and such thoughts. And of course I have to ask God for lots of help throughout the day.

If you are serious about making better choices you can do it. Thats all that God has wanted you to do from the beginning. He’s not mad at you or disapproves of you because of the choices you’ve made. I think that he is probably saddened that you have allowed yourself less than the best that you could have. He is waiting for you to come talk to him and ask for his help to make better choices by following the Holy Spirit. He will never give up on you and you shouldn’t ever give up on yourself. Freedom can be yours. And you can start living your best life.

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