Making Positive Choices
By Mark A. Finley
The ability to choose is hardwired into our brains by a loving Creator. We are not mere machines programmed to function in a certain way. We are not robots controlled by a cosmic, celestial computer. We are human beings created in the image of God with the ability to think, to reason, and to choose. This lesson will focus on the critical importance of the choices we make.
1 Read Genesis 2:8, 9, 16, 17. What two trees did God place in the midst of the Garden of Eden? What do those trees reveal about our ability to choose?
The tree of life represents the sum of all our positive, life-giving, and healthy choices. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil represents the sum of all negative, life-destroying, and unhealthful choices. The two trees represent two pathways: life and death.
2 Read the verses in Genesis 3:6-13, 16, 17. Summarize the four devastating consequences of Adam and Eve’s choice to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
3 When Eve bore Cain, she declared, “I have acquired a man from the Lord” (Gen. 4:1). Although Cain was God’s gift to Eve, and he was raised by godly parents, did these facts alone guarantee he would make positive choices? Read Genesis 4:3-8. What inner attitude led Cain, to make one of the worst choices possible?
4 Read Genesis 4:9-16. What was the result of Cain’s poor choice?
Cain’s choice affected him the rest of his life. It also affected his future wife and children. Generations were influenced both by Adam and Eve’s sin and Cain’s rebellion. Although we “sow what we reap” in kind, we do not sow what we reap in quality. Indeed, no farmers would plant a single grain of corn if they expected only to get a single grain back in return. We reap much more than we sow; this is true not only of the poor choices we make, but also of the good, positive choices we make.
5 The prophet Daniel is well known for making wise choices. Read Daniel 1:8, 20; 2:19-22, 48; 6:1-3. What were the results of those choices?
Daniel’s steadfast purpose and unswerving obedience to God resulted in positive choices that prepared him to be especially used by God in influencing the entire Babylonian and Medo-Persian empires.
6 Read Exodus 32:25, 26 and Joshua 24:15. When Israel faced a moral crisis in the days of Moses and later in the time of Joshua, what two powerful appeals were made by these courageous men of God?
Even when the Israelites were shackled in the bonds of idolatry, individuals could still make positive choices to be free from the slavery of sin. No matter how many poor choices we have made, it’s never too late to begin making right choices.
7 Read the following promises: John 15:5; Romans 8:11; Galatians 5:16, 17; Philippians 4:13. From where do we get the power to make right choices and ultimately put them into practice? Which of these promises means the most to you?
The same Holy Spirit who convicts us of sin and prompts us to make right choices does not leave us alone when we make them. Although we may desire to do right and choose to do right, without the empowerment of the Holy Spirit we cannot carry out our desires. The good news is that the Holy Spirit will empower our choices. When we choose to do right, the Holy Spirit translates our choices into action.