As I have been pondering and praying over the beginning of a new year, I’ve simultaneously been meditating on “the beginning of all beginnings” thousands of years ago in the Garden. There were two distinct trees there in the midst of the Garden…the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and throughout this first week of the New Year, I have been captivated by the reality that there has always been a choice. Even in the midst of a perfect world and an ideal life, the man and woman had a choice. They were not forced to remain in perfect, gloriously dependent and fully satisfying relationship with the Trinity. They made a choice every single day of their existence in the Garden to trust, depend on and enjoy the Father. That is until one fateful day when they choose to believe a lie, unplug from the one true source of love, life and security and strike out on their own. I know that a debate has and always will rage on Armenianism vs Calvinism – free will vs. absolute sovereignty and this not meant to be treatise on the subject. But rather a simple observation from Genesis 2 & 3 that there has always been a choice.

This is an important perspective that has a profound impact on our lives. As someone who has suffered profound abuse, it easy for me, to this day, to feel powerless and like a rag doll carried along by the currents and circumstances of life that I have no control over and little power to impact or change. But that is far from true. I and we are faced with a choice and, in fact, multiple choices every single day. We can choose the Spirit or the Flesh, we can choose life or death, we can choose to be a dynamic overcomer or a pathetic victim, we can choose love and kindness or hatred and cruelty, we can choose to build up or to destroy, we can choose to grow or to remain stagnate, we can choose to lie down and quit or to keep battling on, we can choose hope or despair, we can choose to live for ourselves or to live for others, we can choose Him or everything else. The list goes on and on.

There has always been a choice since the beginning of time in the Garden and there still is…every single moment of every single day. We are more powerful than we think we are and we have more God-given influence to impact this world and lives around us than we want to acknowledge. That power and impact lies in our choices. Most of us, consciously or unconsciously run from this reality because it carries immense responsibility…a responsibility with no way out and no one else to blame but ourselves. It is a lot easier to play the victim, to deny our freedom and our power and to whine and blame. That’s what Adam and Eve did. Through the power of the Spirit, we can change their legacy of Choice and change our lives and those around us…one choice at a time. When things aren’t going well and it seems that God has disappeared, I can choose trust and continued dependency on Him. When the man on the street is rude and mean because I didn’t cross the street fast enough in front of him, I can choose love and kindness in return. When the checkout line is not moving fast enough or the border crossing is backed up for miles, I can choose joy and patience. When my checking account is empty and the funds I need are not there, I can choose peace rather than anxiety and worry. Again, the list could go and on. The reality is that I have a choice and with that choice profound power and impact on the world around me.

I have heard many of my friends talking about their word for the year. Well, my word is CHOICE. I won’t get it perfectly right in my choices this year but I am asking the Spirit to make me more conscious of my choices and the power that comes with them this year. I am asking Him to help me choose well because the reality is that there has always been a choice and there always will be. What a humbling, powerful reality this is. We have a choice.

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