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Our choices matter - Paula Murray

Paula writes about the importance of not compromising on our faith or commitment to God. She reminds us that the 'flags' He has put in place are to draw us closer to Him and, in the process, discover the life He intended for us.

Our choices matter to God.

Each. And. Every. One.

They matter because He loves us.

They matter because they are the doorway to knowing Him.


Yet sometimes we find ourselves swimming outside of the flags. It often isn’t intentional but, perhaps the desire to stay within the flags isn’t as intentional as it should be either. Within a very short time it’s easy to drift, swept up in the current of life. The flags are still visible, but the current can be strong and effortless, and our perspective changes to that of our new surroundings.


Gradually, God doesn’t seem as close or significant as He once was, and although our lives can seem fine with a new outlook, it lacks our creator as our focus, and our values and beliefs can become murky. I wonder how we let ourselves get into this position when God gave everything to set us between the safety of the flags in the first place? Getting back can be hard against the current.


Compromises


The Bible says that we are a holy people, God’s special possession (1 Peter, chapter 2 verse 9), we’ve been bought at a price (1 Corinthians, chapter 6 verse 20). We’re encouraged to not conform to the pattern of this world (Romans chapter 12, verse 2) but to fix our eyes on God and give our ordinary, everyday lives as an offering to Him.


But we often take God for granted and give Him the leftovers of our busy-ness. Sometimes He’s just a line on our To Do list. A week off church, a promise to spend time with Him ‘tomorrow’, a dusty Bible and a distant community. All seemingly inconsequential in themselves but, together, they can lead to indifference. Life appears okay with us in control and God on the fringe, and we begin to settle for less than He ever intended.


Control is hard to relinquish. At home my dog is almost perfect: he’s well-behaved, he’s eager to please and he follows commands enthusiastically. But in a high-pressured environment with other things competing for his attention, it’s a different story. As we leave our house he loses focus, ignoring commands as we pass the neighbour’s dog barking and kids playing.


Either fear or excitement makes him want to take control and his master’s voice is no longer significant (naughty dog!). The same can be said of us. We live in a high-pressured world that no longer knows or acknowledges our God, where anything seems acceptable, making biblical values seem outdated and irrelevant.


We get excited by what the world offers and can ignore the guidance God has given us and the love it was given in. We lose trust that God knows best for us, and we are quick to trade the treasure we have found for things of much lesser value.


Staying within the flags


The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs, chapter 9 verse 10). God has provided us with flags to swim between so that we don’t get separated from Him, so that we don’t find ourselves in situations that will harm us. They offer a place of safety and freedom despite the crashing waves. A safe place to learn and grow, a community around us.


But it takes effort to stay there, as currents move us towards the fringe. And that open ocean beyond can be so tempting, with seemingly better waves, the chance to be in control of what we do and where we go, to be free of rules. But here’s the thing, God doesn’t want us to stay between the flags because we’re following rules. He’s not looking for perfection. He wants us to stay because we desire to be close to Him.


It’s easy to believe that drifting a little won’t matter, but it leads to levels of separation from God. When He becomes our focus, we start to experience an incredible relationship with a Holy and majestic God. A relationship where we begin to discover our true selves as He starts to remove the baggage that we’ve been carrying.


Life appears okay with us in control and God on the fringe, and we begin to settle for less than He ever intended.

We begin to get glimpses of what He intended. The peace that passes understanding (Phillipians chapter 4, verse 7), the anxiety that disappears despite the crashing waves. So much so that when we get tumbled upside down or swept out of our depth, we can have complete confidence that His hand will reach out to hold us as we gasp for breath.


We see the smallest of miracles that bring the greatest joy through answered prayers, the whispers of His voice through ordinary things, and as we start to see ourselves through His eyes we are overwhelmed by an incredible endless sea of love.


Our choices matter


I desire that more. I desire an anchor to stop me drifting and I realise this comes through prioritising my time with Him and His Word, being part of a community that looks out for each other and honouring Him with my choices. Let’s value the treasure we have found.


Our choices matter to God.

Each. And. Every. One.

They matter because He loves us.

They matter because they declare our love for Him.

They matter because they are the doorway to knowing Him and bringing hope to a broken world.


The Kingdom of Heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought the field (Matthew chapter 13, verse 44).


Paula works as an Undergraduate Programme Manager at AUT. She was born in NZ but grew up in the UK and met her husband Andy at the church youth group. They emigrated to NZ in 1996 and have two amazing young adult children. Paula loves reflecting on the journey that God has been leading her on and seeing Him working through her life. //


Have something to share? Email us: rhythmbloginfo@gmail.com


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