There is a simple phrase that I’ve heard many times over the years of ministry. It is a phrase that seems both obvious and not very profound. But I recall three times when the Lord shared this truth, and it was personalized by the people hearing it, so it became life changing.  

In one case it had to do with a struggle about identity. The individual had been wrestling for years with situations and words that seemed to convey that she, in and of herself, had little value. There were many rules in life and many expectations for behaviors that gave no place for her own personal feelings or desires. After decades of “playing the game” she sat in my office and said, “Who am I?  I don’t even know who I am.” So we prayed and we visited some of the most intense moments of pain and confusion in her life and at one point the lady looked up at me and said, “I am not sure what this means exactly but the Lord just asked me, ‘Who do you want to be?’ and then told me, ‘You can choose.'”

        “I have a choice.  I never knew that before.”

The second time involved a woman who has a place she retreats inside. (I have heard such secret places described as a cave, a shell, a safe room.) I asked her to try to recall a recent time she had retreated to this place and once there to share about that place. She simply said, “Oh yes, this is where I take all my negative emotions. All the anger and resentment and pain.” She paused and added, “This is a place of death.”  I inquired, “Then why would you go here,” and she replied, “Because it is safe.” This seemed like a good time to invite the Lord to reveal some truth and so we prayed and as we did she quietly stated, “He asked me to choose life.” She looked up and asked me if that was a verse in the Bible. Assuring her it was, we turned to Deuteronomy 30 and started reading together at verse 11. We slowed down at verse 19 where the Word says, “…I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life….”  (Incidentally, the Lord let her know that if she chose life there would eventually be another choice to be made – to totally give up the hiding place and boldly live life in the open – but that will be another update.)

        “I have a choice.  I never knew that before.”

Finally, it was one verse from Psalm 51 that prompted the statement again. The lady was sharing how verse 6 had been on her mind all week: “Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.” As we were talking together there was a moment when she shared with me, “Do you know what I just realized?  He, God, wants to come into my inmost being, into my hidden places and bring His truth. But I have the choice to let Him or not.”

        “I have a choice.  I never knew that before.”

Please pray with me that many important choices, like those above, will be made this week by people seeking the Lord’s truth.

Pastor Jim

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