When I was a kid, I wished I had the power to disappear. Matter of fact, there were times I wished that as an adult. Wouldn’t that be perfect in those super embarrassing moments? Just when everyone would have noticed that it was you who tripped and broke something? Or when you were caught with your booze? Or how about that time when you put your foot in your mouth?
Or how about this superpower: rewind time. Go back and not make your worst mistake. Undo the offensive comments, not go to that party. Not binge and nearly die (oh sorry, maybe that’s just me).
Those powers would be great but are really unnecessary (if they were, God would have given them to us). We learn from our mistakes, we can repair broken relationships, we can be forgiven, and we can heal.
Everything in this world tries to make us forget our superpower.
Or make it seem less powerful. It’s something that directs the course of our lives and can impact others.
Drumroll, please... It’s the power to choose.
Think of these ads - “Obey your thirst” and “Just do it.” Or how about the coolest man that ever lived? You know, the one who “once had an embarrassing moment just to see what it felt like.” Of course, if you want to be like him, you have to drink what he’s drinking. Every commercial and every product label is meant to do all the thinking for you. You “need” this [insert product or service] to be happy.
No, you don’t.
You are not an animal. Animals operate by instinct. They cannot reflect and do not have a conscience. They can be trained to be helpful or harmful, but they cannot make real choices. Only humans can do that.
Every day, we make thousands (millions?) of little choices and a few big ones. When will I get up? What will I do first? Will I brush my teeth (hopefully that answer is yes)? What will I say to my husband? (That's a big one, especially if you just had a fight). How will I treat my children, my neighbors, my pets? Will I tell someone about my drinking problem? Will I take a few moments to pray? Will I pick up an iced coffee or a green smoothie? Will I resist temptation? If I’ve failed in the past, what will I do differently this time?
All the little choices add up to our habits. And all the big choices affect who we are and who we will become. If you’ve made poor choices in the past, you can make new ones.
Have you ever considered that the accuser would probably love for everyone to die, never hear from God, and never get better after sickness or addiction? But guess what? He cannot override our will. If we choose to pray, he can try every distraction in the book (so watch out) but when we choose God, His power begins to work in us. The healing begins, miracles happen, life is restored. So, use your power next time you feel a temptation or negative thought (aka just say “No!”).
How about God? He doesn’t overstep our will either. Sure, there is divine intervention at times (thank God for that), but if I choose to run from God or align myself with darkness, or just do whatever feels good at the moment - I take part in bringing about harmful consequences to myself and those around me. Remember when Jesus didn’t do miracles in His hometown because His old friends and neighbors were ‘offended’? They were probably thinking, “Is that little Jesus? How dare he come in here acting like he's the Messiah?” It wasn't a lack of power on His part. It was their choice to reject him.
He offers at least two things that the world can't.
There are plenty of people who make great choices without God. And they have good outcomes, but God’s power comes especially to those who choose Him and His ways. He offers at least two things that the world can’t:
Forgiveness. Because Jesus paid for our wrong choices on the cross, we have a clean slate - and that brings peace.
Eternity. He offers a relationship with Him that will last long after this body dies. And it fills these few days we have on earth with a satisfaction that is beyond compare.
Instead of choosing the pursuit of happiness (which is the avoidance of all discomfort), a better choice would be to choose God’s kingdom and His way of living rightly, then He will take care of all the things. (Matthew 6:33 - SHT [Sherry Hoppen Translation])
If you’ve been caught in a series of unfortunate choices, stop, drop, and pray.