For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them. It has happened to them according to the true proverb, “A DOG RETURNS TO ITS OWN VOMIT,” and, “A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire.” (2 Peter 2:20-22)

Much has been said in many different contexts about a number of subjects concerning “the right of choice.” Among many of the rights of choice is the right to choose who we are. The choice to convert to Jesus Christ does not destroy choice or the necessity of choice. Choice does not end because a person chooses to follow Jesus Christ.

That is both wonderful and sobering. It is wonderful to understand that I can repent as a Christian at any time. No matter how much I slip as a Christian, no matter what a mess I make of my life, no matter what bad decisions I have made and followed, I can call a halt, repent (redirect), and—with God’s forgiveness and help—turn my life again to following Jesus Christ. It is extremely encouraging to know mistakes, bad decisions, and yielding to evil influences are not final! The option to return to God’s ways is mine! The same incredible forgiveness that made life in Jesus Christ possible still exists for me as a Christian when I make huge mistakes!

It is sobering to realize I can choose to reject God and all His gifts in Jesus Christ if that is my desire. I can choose to revert to anything I wish. That is the core of many temptations—to return to my fantasy of “how good it was when ...” (I conveniently forget the struggles and consequences).

Following Jesus Christ never ceases to be a choice. It is a choice in how I see me—a temporary physical being who does not exist after death, or an eternal being who exists after physical death. It is a choice in the way I see life—life as a pursuit of the physical only because the physical only is reality, or life as an investment in what is “to be” because the eternal is as real as the physical. It is a choice in the way I see human existence—only as a matter of time, or as a combination of time and timelessness.

Not matter what I choose, it is a faith choice. I can have faith that the physical, the “here and now,” and that which I physically experience is all there is, or I can have faith in a reality that surpasses the physical, a reality that goes beyond the physical, a reality that goes beyond time. I can believe that life is the result of an accident, or that life is the result of a purposeful God. I can believe I am on my own, or I can believe that the living God wishes me to return to Him. It is my choice, and I will make that choice many times. Every time I am challenged, I will make that choice.

The question: what is your choice? How committed are you to your choice? Is your basic choice for the experiences of now or for God? Who you are very much depends on the choice you make! The direction of your life is determined by your choice!

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 11 September 2008

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