One of Yogi Berra’s choicest Yogi-isms is “When you come to a fork in the road, take it!” And crazy as it sounds, we do. Every day, all day long, we come to fork after fork in our road. And we take them. We make choice after choice after choice.

Jesus reminds us we make choices when he’s in the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. You remember the story. Martha’s in the kitchen trying to prepare a feast fit for a king while Mary’s sitting with the king and feasting on his word. Martha asks Jesus to put an apron on Mary and make her come in the kitchen and help. Jesus refuses. Why? Eavesdrop: Mary “has chosen the good portion” (Luke 10:41-42).

Pause at Jesus’ evaluation. It comes in one word. Mary has chosen the “good” portion. The Lord’s underlining the importance of our choices. The late UCLA coach John Wooden was fond of saying, “There’s a choice you have to make / in everything you do / so keep in mind that/in the end, the choice you make makes you.” Our choices chisel us into the kind of people we are as much as Michelangelo shaped a piece of stone into “David” masterpiece.

What this means for you is profound. Your choices influence the quality of the Christian life you’re living. Your choices help decide whether you’re living an abysmal, average, or abundant Christian life right here, right now.

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Choices That Make A Difference

Using Jesus’ word with Mary, here are four “good” daily choices that will help you live abundantly.

  1. Choose as close friends people who make you better not worse.

“Close friends” includes the people and things you spend the most time with. Yes, people. And the books you read, the movies and TV shows you watch, and the websites you haunt. What makes all of these monumental is they’re like dye. Soak a white handkerchief in purple dye and it’ll turn crayon purple. And soaking’s what you’re doing with close friends. Over time you’ll absorb their outlook, values, and habits. That’s why a famous psychologist urges you to choose to spend time with people/things that are good for you. He’s echoing what Jesus tells you in his severe metaphor about “tearing out an eye that’s bad for you” (Matthew 5:29). Here’s the central question about everyone/everything: is this person, this entertainment strengthening or weakening my walk with the Lord? You do choose what you spend the most time with every day.

Your choice does make a difference in the quality of your Christian life. Choose wisely.

2. Choose to see yourself the way God sees you.

Phillips Brooks wrote the Christmas hymn “O Little Town of Bethlehem.” He was consistently and persistently cheerful. Asked why, he said, ‘I’m a Christian.” Meaning Brooks saw himself the way God saw him. How about you? Do you see yourself the way God sees you? How’s that? Not as someone broken but as someone he’s fixing. Notice how in the New Testament the Lord reminds you in the New Testament of who and what you are? You’re “in Christ.” In Christ you’re forgiven, adopted, indwelt by the Holy Spirit. You’re God’s bride, child, friend, and sheep. He delights in you and is determined to get glory from you by being good to you. This is how he sees you. This is how he talks about you. This is how he talks to you. All the time and even though you still sin! (See, for example, Romans 8:27-39 & Ephesians 1:3-14.) He wants you to choose to see yourself this way, too. You do choose how you see yourself.

Your choice does make a difference in the quality of your Christian life. Choose wisely.

  1. Choose to Pray

Grab your cell phone and call President Trump. You mean you don’t have him on speed dial? But you can call on your heavenly Father every day, all day long. The famous 19th Century theologian Charles Hodge never locked his study door. He wanted his children to come see him whenever they wanted. God’s done something better. When Jesus died God didn’t simply open the door to his Presence and help. He took the door off the hinges (Matthew 27:51a). He so loves helping you when you pray that he wants you to choose to pray and pray and pray about everything big and small. You do choose to pray or neglect the throne.

Your choice does make a difference in the quality of your Christian life. Choose wisely.

  1. Choose to live with The Christian Attitude toward life.

It’s easy to think that the quality of your life’s determined by the things that do or don’t happen to you as though you’re a pair of dice shaken and thrown by the hand of circumstances. But that’s wrong. Your attitude has more say-so over the quality of life you live than Vladimir Putin has over how Russian citizens live. Lots of well-off Christians are as miserable as a man on death row. And lots of less materially well-off believers are as joyful as the angels at Jesus’ birth. The difference? Attitude. There’re only two. There’s Grace-Focused Optimism. And there’s Grace-Denying Pessimism. Everything about God’s relationship to you in Jesus urges you, invites you, and woos you to choose to live as a Grace-Focused Optimist (Romans 5:1-2; Romans 8:31-32). You do choose which attitude you’ll have.

Your choice does make a difference in the quality of your Christian life. Choose wisely.

Your road’s full of forks. You are making choices. Your choices are determining the quality of Christian life you live.

Choose wisely.

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