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Sunday, April 17, 2016

For Such a Time

Have you deliberately committed your will to Jesus Christ? It is a transaction of will, not of emotion; the emotion is simply the gilt-edge of the transaction. If you allow emotion first, you will never make the transaction. April 17, My Utmost for His Highest

There are areas in our lives that we struggle with. Some are socially acceptable, for example eating too much, while others clearly separate us from God, such as drinking alcohol. As I read the section in my devotional today, these sentences stopped my scanning eye. I re-read it and began to think about its implications.

I believe in good and evil. I believe there are only two beings fighting for my allegiance; Satan and Jesus. I believe that Jesus does not force my free will to choose Him but that He does all within His power to make it possible for me to choose Him. I believe Satan works as hard as he can to force my will into choosing him and makes my life as miserable as he is allowed to. 

Yet I think I was missing one belief. To not choose Jesus is to choose Satan. It's a simple formula but I don't think we realize it very often. Do you remember, as a kid, being able to choose which lollipop or which ice lolly flavour you wanted? Were you ever stuck with an uninteresting flavour because you couldn't decide?

I remember going to summer camp in Wales when I was just 9 years old. I went with my triplet cousins and their older brother and we had a wonderful time singing songs, eating fun foods, watching Puff the Magic Dragon, and sleeping under the stars. We'd go down to the beach every other day and I'd line up with the other kids to spend my pennies on an ice cream cone. The only problem was, by the time I got to the front of the line, the strawberry flavour was gone and I had to be content with vanilla.

As adults, we are given freedom to choose Jesus or Satan. By default, if we don't choose Jesus then we are choosing Satan. That is a frightening thought if you think about it. When we deliberately choose to do something that we know Jesus wouldn't approve of, we are deliberately choosing Satan's rule in our lives. Satan doesn't give up his subjects easily which makes it even more terrifying.

There is hope, though. I can choose to hand my will to Jesus and let Him fight my battles. It is not an emotional decision, as Oswald Chambers points out, but it is an intellectual decision. It is a decision based on logic that understands the implications of the choice. When I choose Jesus, when I surrender my right to choose to Him, I know with certainty that He will direct my life towards hope and a bright future (Jeremiah 29).

The next time I'm facing an oversized temptation, I want to step away, hand my will to Jesus, and say Here is my heart; here are my desires. Take them, change them, and use me to honour You in this situation. I am confident He will hear me and He will answer. 

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