I’ve been thinking a lot about choices lately. Not so much the “big” choices in life: Who do I marry? Do I take that job? Should I buy that house? We usually put a lot of thought and prayer into those choices, seeking counsel from those we trust.
But what about the little choices? The kind we make dozens, even hundreds of times a day. Our responses to these are habit, they reflect our heart — and they change our heart. I’m convinced the accumulation of these little choices has a bigger impact on our lives than the few really big ones.
God created us with a free will, i.e. the ability to make decisions — to choose. Consider, what is love but the choice to put someone else’s interests ahead of our own. What is worship but the choice to do what pleases God rather than what pleases me. In giving us the ability to make choices, God delegated to us a limited ability to demonstrate His character in us by choosing to care about someone other than ourselves.
We also know that God considers the motivations of our hearts as more important than our actions. Our actions matter, but only because they reflect what’s in our heart. Consider Jeremiah 17:10:
“I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.”
God looks at our hearts and minds to determine how he will reward our deeds. Or 1 Samuel 16:7b:
“For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.”
Again, it’s our heart, not the things we see that God is paying attention to. So how do we make our hearts pleasing to God?
We start making choices that please Him. As we exercise our free-will muscle to make loving, worshipful choices instead of self-centered choices, that muscle gets stronger in its ability to please God.
Consider these familiar scriptures:
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4 (ESV)
Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor. 1 Corinthians 10:24 (ESV)
When does God expect us to apply these biblical instructions? Only in our occasional big choices, or in the multiple-times-a-day choices?
So here’s the question I’ve been challenging myself with:
If I was a fanatic about considering others more important than myself, what would I do differently everyday?
Here are just a few answers:
- Leave the closest parking space for someone else
- Show grace when others err
- Don’t recline the airplane seat into the person behind me
- Give others the best seats
- Tip big
Making those kinds of choices multiple times a day changes us.
Post your answers to that challenge here…