Devotional Readings

God Empowers Our Choices

And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve. . . But as for me and my house we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15.

My friend Bill’s father struggled with tobacco. Early in the morning Bill would see his dad pacing in front of the family farmhouse, fighting a terrible craving to chew tobacco. Often the old man took his chewing tobacco in his hand and threw it far out into the cornfield. Now he was free. He was done chewing tobacco.

But, as Bill tells the story, along about noon he would see his dad out among the cornstalks, head bent low, looking for something. What was he searching for? The tobacco he had thrown out in the morning!

Here’s my question. If you were God, would you let him find it? “Oh no!” somebody says. “God would not let him find it!” But God did. Why? Because He gave Bill’s dad the same power of choice in the afternoon that He did in the morning. God does not manipulate the will. God allows us to make choices. When we choose to put our will on the side of right, the Holy Spirit empowers our choices.

We do not overcome Satan’s temptations through our willpower. We overcome them through God’s power. Here is an often neglected, greatly misunderstood truth. We cannot overcome sin in our lives without God. And God will not overcome sin in our lives without us. In the plan of salvation our cooperation with God is imperative. As the Holy Spirit impresses our minds, we choose to surrender that specific sin that is offensive to God. Then the Holy Spirit gives us the strength to overcome. We do not overcome sin through our determined choice. Jesus made it plain when He said, “For without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

Let’s suppose I am in a large auditorium. The room is totally dark. It’s impossible to find the exit. What if I had a shovel? How long would it take to shovel the darkness out? How much effort would it take to shovel all the darkness out? What if 100 people worked for three hours–could we push it out together? What if you guided my hand to a light switch on the wall? What if you helped me throw the switch? Immediately the room would fill with light. Why? The action of my finger, however small, threw the switch and connected the electrical wires with the source of power. When we place our will on the side of right, we connect with a source of infinite power. God’s power flows into our lives. Dramatic, miraculous change occurs.

Christ longs to fill your life with His power. He longs to empower your choices. He will do it today. Why not yield to the impression of His Spirit now?

from On Solid Ground
Mark Finley | Review & Herald (2003)
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