“I was reading in the apostle John’s first letter this morning,” Stan began, “and I was struck by his use of the word ‘if’.”
“We’ve talked about choices and how they relate to whether or not I want to do something ,” Stan continued. “For example, Jesus laid out the criteria for what I have to do if, with emphasis on ‘if’, I want to be a disciple.”
“Yes,” I replied. “Deny self, take up cross, and follow”
“Exactly,” Stan responded. “But what I saw in John’s first letter about his use of ‘if’ caused me to do a quick computer search to see how many times that word appears in the Bible.”
“Almost 1600 is what it said,” Stan replied. “Can you imagine that?”
“Wow,” I said, “that’s a lot of choices! We could probably have 1600 different discussions on that one little word.”
“We could,” Stan replied, “but probably won’t. Well, . . . maybe!”
“But,” he continued, “I want to focus on, what is for me, the essential nature of God’s use of that word. He does not force me to do anything. He leaves it up to me to choose. He will point out the consequences of not making the right choice, but the choices are up to me.”
“Additionally,” Stan said, “God often makes it real clear to me, in retrospect, that I should have made a different choice.”
“Sometimes,” I replied, “I wish God would just move in me to make me always choose rightly.”
“That’s not how God works,” Stan responded, “but He has provided the Helper in the Holy Spirit. If, again that word, I will just choose to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit, He is ready, willing, and able to lead my choices. But the ‘if’ is up to me.”
“1600 ‘ifs’,” Stan concluded. “We better get busy!”
If we say . . ., if we walk . . ., if we say . . ., if we confess . . ., if we say . . . . 1 John 1:6 – 10.
If anyone wishes to come after Me, . . . . Luke 9:23.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, that you allow me to choose you and all that you have for me on both sides of eternity. I thank you that I chose rightly in being able to look forward to spending eternity with you when it is time. However, I confess that too often I do not choose rightly on this side of eternity. I choose self over you. I choose the world, the flesh, and the devil over you. Please forgive me. And please, Father, help me in following the lead of the indwelling Holy Spirit who is fully ready, willing, and able to lead me in choosing to follow you, wherever you want, whatever the cost. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Things to think (and journal) about:
1. What is your biggest take-away from this devotional?
2. What does this devotional say about God and about us as His people?
3. What is God saying to you to do personally?
4. Who can you share this with to make a difference?
Comments, questions, suggestions, and the like can be addressed to The Storyteller at: firstname.lastname@example.org.