THE TENSION OF CHOICE
If we could understand the language of flies and ask a “Why?” question the response would be a blank stare from a lot of eyes.
Flies are prisoners of their instincts as are all God’s creations except humans. We make choices – we can wonder “why?”
Therein lies the tension of human uniqueness. We are created with the capacity for choice. While flies buzz about pursuing cow-pies, we have the self-awareness to ask the “How comes?” and the “What about’s?”
Every day we experience the tension of choice. We want to make decisions in an environment of total information. Not possible. That pre-supposes that we could know the outcomes of every alternative.
Flies mindlessly buzz, feed and reproduce. We explore alternatives.
The New Covenant Bearer introduced a Kingdom shaped more by principles than by practices. His disdain for meaningless rituals was evident. Before Jesus came, everyday living was structured within the Law. But much of that body of law was birthed by human motives and bounded by human interpretation.
The consequence was the tension of choice intensified by being redirected towards performance and outcome. People were hopelessly attempting to travel on a narrow path of “right-living”. Unfortunately many still do. The fatal flaw with performance is the standards are born in making an impossible leap from Ten divinely ordered principles to countless human-instigated practices.
Almost daily we imagine that creating laws somehow solves problems. Consider, do laws restricting gun possession stop people from being shot? Do speeding laws stop us from exceeding the speed limit at times?
The truth is every man-made law boards the train of life carrying a suitcase filled with exceptions. Why? Because life is situational and perceptive. We cannot anticipate either the nature of future situations or the biases of our own perceptions.
The result – we create more laws to “fix” the exceptions discovered in the last law. Thus the exceptions multiply along with the laws.
We need to abandon this illusion and leap into the arms of a beckoning Savior who declares the only laws that are real are the ones written on our hearts. Internal transformation, not external conformation is a foundational part of right-living in His Kingdom.
The very nature of our creation expresses the kind intentions of a Father in a reconciled relationship safely bounded by the principles that resonate with His higher thoughts for and of us. In the New Covenant, with the indwelling deposit of His Spirit, God moves in relationship not regulation.
A foundation in the Kingdom is the command to love. The power of this force transcends practices and rituals of any era. The advancing Kingdom calls us up to refocus on our intentions. Through that lens we can see where we and God agree as to what is real. This revelation permits us to examine our thinking (repent) and align our intentions with His nature and plans for us. Believing is not an intellectual exercise. It is living in our new thinking.
Outcomes are still outcomes. They interact in an environment of responsibility and accountability. We should not reject laws that order the Kingdom. Still, the Kingdom imperative is the primacy of intention. This is a key to the gate of grace.
There is no doubt that how we think influences what we do. So it is key that in our thinking we are in agreement with God.
As God’s People, we can deal with the tension of choice and navigate the new landscape of an unfolding Kingdom. Jesus taught that a heart posture of love resonating through a grid of Kingdom principles forms a lens through which we can encounter the Holy Spirit and discover the heart of the Father for us.
This is the second installment of a series by Pastor Bob Young. Click here to read part one titled, “How To Live In Conflicted Times.”