12 Choices To Live My Best Life - Part 2
Life is a choice. So choose wisely! Even when life throws us a curve ball and puts us in a position NOT of our own choosing, we can CHOOSE how we respond. I believe there are 12 choices we can make each day to live our best lives. Today we will consider the last half dozen choices to live my best life.
But first, let’s review the first half dozen choices from last week:
#1 - Choose God’s ___GLORY___ .
#2 - Choose God’s ___VISION___ .
#3 - Choose God’s ___ADVICE___ .
#4 - Choose God’s ___WORK___ .
#5 - Choose God’s ___CORRECTION___ .
#6 - Choose God’s ___CONFIDENCE___ .
And now the final six choices...
#7 - Choose God’s ___PLAN___ .
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
If I could have a life-changing conversation with any young person getting started today it would be around this choice. This choice is life changing for many reasons.
First, God DOES have a plan for your life! How wonderful to know this! Why? Because God created me. God knows me. He knows what will fulfill me the most!
Second, remember that God is GOOD God. He wants what is best for me. It’s right inside this verse. God’s plans will “give [me and] you hope and a future!” Isn’t this what every person wants most? Hope! A future! How do we get there?
Third, we must choose God’s plan for our lives. Living out God’s plans for us is not automatic. We must choose daily. Sometimes making that choice will involve sacrifice and even hardship. There will be roadblocks and challenges. Following God’s plans for our lives requires great faith and confidence in God and in His working. We often forget that this most famous Jeremiah verse came to the Israelites while they were still in captivity! So don’t allow anything or anyone to hold you back - to keep you captive! Seek out God’s plan. Choose God’s plan. Follow God’s plan for your life!
Example - I’d like to share a quick encouragement for those of us who are NOT young, who have more life in the rear-view mirror than in the windshield of our lives. It is never too late to choose God’s plan! In my own case, I believe God had in mind for me to be a preacher from a very young age. My own grandmother played the role of prophet in my life. When I was only 6 years old, she told me I was to be God’s man. I would be a preacher. I would be a pastor. She told me she prayed that for me every day. Yet, after graduating from high school, I sought a different route and became a businessman and financial planner. There’s nothing wrong with those career choices and it’s very possible to honor God with that choice. It’s just that in my case, it wasn’t God’s plan for me. Yet God remained persistent in His calling. At age 48 I changed the direction of my life, went back to seminary, and became a pastor. No matter your age, it’s never too late to follow God’s plan for you. There is still hope! You still have a future!
#8 - Choose God’s ___FUTURE___ .
This might sound like it is the same thing as #7. Certainly the two go hand in hand. As Jeremiah writes to us, God has a plan in mind for us and God has a future in mind for us. But what if we haven’t followed the plan? Or even if we have followed God’s plan and things just don’t seem to be working out? What then?
“I am sure of this, that He Who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6 ESV
You might be surprised to hear this in a sermon about you making good choices every day - your life and your future are not entirely up to your choices! It’s true! Your life and your future are also the choice of God! Before you ever chose God, God chose you! You won the most important election in all of history when God voted for you! The Bible uses a special word to describe you as a Christ-follower. You are one of the ELECT!
Now, if God has indeed chosen you, we are also told here in Philippians that it is God Who began a good work in you and it is God Who will bring it to completion. So what is this choice #8 then?
Example - I have discovered in my own life, over these 65 years, that I can be overwhelmed by outside news and events. This has never been truer than now. In the aftermath of the Roe v Wade overturning leak from the Supreme Court, we have witnessed an outright attack - not just against unborn children, but against God Himself. I have been shocked by the behavior of some who shamelessly exhibit the grossest demonstration of the heathen. It seems obvious to me that Sodom and Gomorrah will have it better on the day of judgment than our own country.
Yet - and here is the important part - God has this. It is His battle, not mine. My job is to be available. My job is to allow God to do His good work in my life. My job is to trust Him, to believe in Him, to not be overwhelmed by the outside news.
The choice I (and you) must make every day is to TRUST God for His future for us! No matter what challenges we face, whether it be the news of a country fighting against God, or news of our own illness, or death of a loved one, or a financial setback - no matter what… we TRUST God for His future in our lives!
#9 - Choose God’s ___PEOPLE___ .
This is one of the most pleasant joys of life you can choose - to hang out with God’s people!
“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another!” Hebrews 10:24-25a NLT
This is where our spiritual enemy will strike first! Be aware! The devil doesn’t have to challenge your faith or your belief in God. If he can just get you to stop going to church and hanging out with godly people, he knows he’s won 90% of the battle.
I believe this is why so many young people leave the church after high school. They find a group of friends and a social life that doesn’t involve church and doesn’t inconveniently remind them of God’s ways of living rather than the world’s way of living.
Being among God’s people, encouraging and being encouraged, motivating one another in Christian acts of love and service are vital to everything we’re talking about today. You want to encourage your faith in God’s future? Remain in fellowship with God’s people!
Example - Early in our marriage, Mary Kay and I decided to go to church together every Sunday. We looked for a church that had other couples our age and who also had children. We wanted to be among other Christ-followers who could encourage us in our daily journey. And it gave us the opportunity to pray for and support many other families as well.
This was also the time when God continued to work in both Mary Kay and me to affirm our callings - Mary Kay to NAMI and me to ministry. It was the encouragement and practice of helping other families (and being helped by them as well) that gave us the desire to choose God’s plan and future for us both! It all fits together! Each choice affects the other choices. Don’t neglect the fellowship of other Christians!
#10 - Choose God’s ___LOVE___ .
“For God so loved the world, that He gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life… We love because He first loved us.” John 3:16 / 1 John 4:19 ESV
One of the great paradoxes of Christian theology is centered around the choice to choose God’s love. God chose us. But we must also choose God. God loved us. We must also choose to love God.
In one sense - and perhaps the most important sense - we who are Christian possess our faith only because of God’s choice of us. With that said, we must also choose! Every day!
We must choose God’s love. In how we respond to Him. And in how we respond to others. Every day we make the choice to choose God’s love. It’s not that our eternal life is in jeopardy. It’s that our best life today is in jeopardy. We can only live our best life when we live that life in response to God love. We must never take it for granted.
Each day we must choose it. This is why I so encourage you to develop a daily quiet time. Example - This is why I choose to begin each day in God’s Word and with some brief prayer time. Because I need to be reminded each and every day to choose God’s love.
#11 - Choose God’s ___ACCEPTANCE___ .
Earlier I told you that we must choose God’s love in how we respond to Him and also to others. There is another person you have to respond to with God’s love - yourself! You must choose to accept yourself because God has accepted you.
“Whoever gets sense loves his own soul; he who keeps understanding will discover good.” Proverbs 19:8 ESV
God has accepted us. Just as we are. He loves us. Just as we are. Often our biggest problem is not God’s acceptance, but our own. How could God possibly love me or accept me? I don’t even love me or accept me!
That second verse of Just As I Am says it all: “Just as I am, though tossed about. With many a conflict, many a doubt. Fighting and fears within without… Oh Lamb of God I come. I come.”
Honestly, it is easy to see how we might not accept ourselves when we evaluate ourselves honestly. We’ve done nothing but mess up our whole lives. We can feel like we are nothing but failures - not only can we not live up to God’s expectations… we can’t live up to even our own!
This is why it is so important to choose God’s acceptance of us. It’s not based on our own success or our own strength or even upon our own choices. God’s acceptance of us is based on His strength, His success, and His choice!
“God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 NIV
God’s choice of us has nothing to do with our acceptance of ourselves. It has everything to do with God’s acceptance of ourselves… even when we were at our most unacceptable! When we were sinning!
Think of the worst, most unacceptable thing you’ve ever done in your life… go on - right now… imagine that moment that you will never mention out loud, that you would never admit to another soul, that you don’t even like to think about yourself - you do all you can to block it from memory.
That moment is when God chose you! When God demonstrated His love for you. When Christ died for you so you could choose to love God back!
Because of God’s acceptance of you - all of you - the good and the bad - you can accept you, and love you, and then do the good God has planned for you. All out of God’s acceptance and love!
“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10 NLT
When you see yourself not in your worst moment, but in your best God-recreated moment, as God’s masterpiece, then you can accept you not just for who you are, but for who God created you to be.
And in that…
#12 - Choose God’s ___JOY___ .
There is great joy in living out the life God has created for you to live, to be the best you that you can be!
“Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again - rejoice!” Philippians 4:4 NLT
Did you know that joy in the Lord is not circumstantial? It’s not like happy when sometimes you are and sometimes you’re not. Joy in the Lord is a choice! And we must make it everyday!
But here is an insight - it’s always the final choice and always the result of all the other right choices. When we choose God’s glory, choose God’s vision, choose God’s advice, choose God’s work, choose God’s correction and confidence, choose God’s plan and future, choose God’s people, choose God’s love and acceptance, we can hardly do anything else but also choose God’s joy.
On the other hand, when we find we are struggling to choose God’s joy, it’s not like we can just decide to be joyful! We almost always have to go back through the checklist of the other choices to see what we’re missing.
Because here’s the truth - to choose God and all His choices for us… IS TO CHOOSE GOD’S JOY!
At the very beginning of the first talk, I quoted the very first question new Christians should ask - “What is the chief end of man?”
Answer: “to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever!
The Christian faith is not supposed to lead to a life of misery and despair. If you claim to be a Christian and you’re walking around with a scowl, stop it! Life with God is a life of blessedness, gladness and delight. Choose God’s joy!