15For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.
Romans 7:15 (NASB)
How do you practice being a better person? Baseball players take batting practice to get better. Golfers go to the practice range to improve. Businesses are constantly researching and implementing ‘Best Practices’, so how does someone following Jesus Christ practice?
Our lives are filled with choices from the first moment of the day when we choose to get out of bed, to what time we chose to get back into it. Choices. Sometimes we make good choices and things turn out well. Other times we make choices we regret, that don’t turn out so well. Adam and Eve made the first bad choice in human history, and Mankind has been paying the price ever since.
If you’re in conversation with God seeking to make choices he approves of, he knows. He knows you’re trying. He knows you are making an effort to improve yourself in a way that is in line with what he thinks is good, right, and true. If God knows the heart of the matter; your heart, then it doesn’t matter one bit what someone else in the world thinks.
The author of the scripture above knew that. Jesus Christ, himself, chose Paul on the Damascus road to carry forth the gospel news to the non-Jews of the world. From his quill we have 13 New Testament books of the Bible (Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon). Fourteen books if you count Hebrews. Before Paul became this amazing champion of God’s word, he was the single best person at hunting down and killing Christians for the Pharisees. God knew all about Paul and yet, he had a place for Paul in the world; and not just a little place, but one of the most influential places in biblical history. If Paul, this titan of biblical understanding, fell short of what he thought he should do then don’t you beat yourself up for any of your choices either.
Jesus selected Paul because he knew who Paul was, inside. He knew Paul was truly trying to do better, just like you. They chose Paul for the same reason they want to know you better, because they know you sometimes struggle with your choices; but, just like Paul, You Are Worthy.
Questions for Reflection
- What is the definition of a ‘Good Choice’? Is that the same as a ‘God Choice’?
- If people generally get better at a chosen activity by ‘practicing’ it, what are three things you can do to get better at making choices?
- Why does God love us in spite of the bad choices we’ve made? Will he continue to love us in the future if we make mistakes and make more bad choices? Why or why not?