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Monday, May 2, 2016

Learning to Make Winning Choices

In review of 2 Corinthians 5:17 it says, “Anyone who is joined to Christ is a new being; the old is gone, the new has come”

Bottom Line:
Anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person. The past is forgotten, and everything is new.

What this means to me:
When I made the choice to trust in Christ and have be the leader of my life, I actually became a brand new person inside. I’m no longer the old person I was. A new life started.

Today's verse comes from the middle of 2 Corinthians chapter 5.  Paul is speaking of us as God's ambassadors.

Because we understand our fearful responsibility to the Lord, we work hard to share this with others. God knows of our sincerity and we hope they will as well. I should strive to give others a  reason to be proud and have a sincere heart. I do this to bring glory to God. Christ's love controls me. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.

In my last study I learned that, ultimately, my identity is based on my choices. Given this, here are five winning choices I can make that will continue to help determine and shape my destiny:

First, I can choose to get healthier. Instead of bemoaning the fact that I don’t have an Olympic body, I can find ways to increase my energy, lower my stress, get more sleep, and have more power. Psalm 119:73 says, “Your hands made me and formed me; give me understanding to learn your commands” (NIV). Improving the controllable factors in life helps will help me reduce the impact of the uncontrollable ones.

Second, I can choose to deepen relationships. The fear of rejection prevents connection, and the only way to get rid of fear is to do the thing I fear the most. Learn communication skills, replace bad relationships, and reach out and risk connecting with someone. “Let love be your highest goal!” (1 Corinthians 14:1a NLT, second edition)

Third, I can choose to trust God, no matter what happens. “I will always thank the Lord; I will never stop praising him” (Psalm 34:1 TEV). When you get to the point in life where you can say, “I praise the Lord, no matter what happens,” that is a confidence that I won’t find anywhere in Hollywood, on Capitol Hill, or on Wall Street. That is a confidence built on a relationship with God!

Fourth, I can choose what I think about. Throughout the 20th century, scientists believed the adult brain could not be changed. When the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize winner proved that you can rewire your brain, science finally caught up to the Bible: “Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think” (Romans 12:2a NLT, second edition). My self is created by my memories, and my memories are created by my mental habits. Therefore I should continue to feed my brain with truth — God’s Word.

Lastly, I can continue to choose Jesus as my Savior. This is not just about Jesus saving me from my sins. Rather this is letting Jesus be my Savior every day. Letting Jesus save me gives me the power to follow through on the choices I make. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Anyone who is joined to Christ is a new being; the old is gone, the new has come” (TEV).

Ultimately, I get to choose how much God blesses my life. He is just waiting on me to use my wild card (my choices!) Making these five winning choices helps give me a winning hand.

This morning I pray: “Dear God, there are some things you’ve dealt me and life has dealt me and others have dealt me that I don’t like. But I thank you for the wild card. Thank you that you made me in your image and that I can make choices. Today, in your power and your strength, I choose to get healthier. I choose to do the things that will give me more energy and a healthier mind, body, and emotions. Lord, I choose to build healthy relationships. I’m scared to death, but I’m going to risk building new, healthy connections. I want love to be my highest goal; I want my life to be built on love.

“God, I choose to trust you, regardless of the circumstances. I will praise you, no matter what happens! I will trust that every detail of my life is being worked out for good. Lord, I choose what I will think about — no more junk. Help me to fill my life with positive memories and the Word of truth. Most of all, Jesus, I choose you as my Savior. I need your salvation, but I also need you to save me from myself. I need you to help me rewire my body, my heart, my mind, and my relationships so that the rest of my life is the best of my life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”