DayBreaks for 08/21/13 – Choices, Habits, Character
From the DayBreaks archive, 8/21/2003:
How many choices do you think you make in the course of a day? I really don’t have any idea, nor do I know of any studies that reflect how many choices, or decisions, we must make in a day. But I’m sure that when you stop to really think about it, the number must be staggering. Consider just a few of the things you decide, either consciously or unconsciously, each day: what time to get up, what side of bed to crawl out of, how long of a shower to take, what to eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, whether to say “yes” or “no” to the many questions you will be asked, whether or not to do someone a favor, what you will think about in the moments your mind is idle, what you will say in response to questions, which way to drive to work, school or home and how to get home. The list is mind-boggling. The simple truth is that every time you do something, you made a choice, a decision, to do THAT instead of something else that you could have chosen. I would venture a guess that we consciously or unconsciously make tens of thousands of choices each day.
It was Augustine when he noted that our choices become our habits, and our habits eventually become our character. C. S. Lewis echoed that sentiment in these words: “Every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different from what it was before. And taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing into either a heavenly creature or into a hellish creature.” If, as Gregory Boyd suggests in his book, Satan and the Problem of Evil, “Decisions, however small, are not morally neutral activities. Certain decisions tend to create future possibilities, while other decisions tend to squelch them” is right (and I think he is), we need to weigh our decisions more carefully perhaps. Elsewhere in his book, Boyd states: “We are now deciding the kind of eternal beings we will become. In this period we make choices, though in time our choices make us.”
Perhaps this is why Paul wrote in 2 Cor 10:5 that “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (NIV) Paul took pains to point out that it is “EVERY thought” (emphasis mine) that needs to be take captive. Our choices are the result of thoughts…and over time, our choices lead to habit patterns, and over even more time, those habit patterns define our character.
You and I need to be more aware of our thoughts and the choices we make. They are moral decisions – every time – either for good or bad. Only you can decide which path you will take and what kind of person you will become by the decisions you make.
PRAYER: We make so many decisions each day, Lord, we ask that You help us make them wisely, considering their implications in our lives and future! In Your name, Amen.
Copyright 2013 by Galen C. Dalrymple.
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