I'll never forget the first time I shopped at a grocery store in the USA. What I thought would take just a few minutes, ended up taking so much more time and energy than I imagined. There was just too many choices! No matter what grocery item I needed, there were rows and rows of variations to choose from. Right there and then I decided to do my homework on each brand before I did my next trip to the grocery store. This way I would eliminate the frustration of having to read all the labelling and save so much time. So I began to ask some of my friends about the products and read up on them. Once I became knowledgeable about the items, I was able to make good choices when I shopped again. The funny thing about grocery shopping though is that there are always new products that pop up on the shelves. So you never stop having to inform yourself about them in order to make the best choices.
I believe this principle carries true in our every day lives. From the time we open our eyes in the morning, till we close them again at night, we have to make choices. And every choice we make has a consequence.
The Bible teaches us that even our thoughts are governed by choice. We may not be responsible for every thought that pops into our minds but we certainly have the responsiblility to choose what to do with each thought. 2 Corinthians 1:5 clearly instructs us on what to do with our thoughts that don't line up with the character of God and the truth of His Word: "...refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Annointed One)".
The thoughts we continuously choose to allow our minds to entertain and mediate on, are the thoughts that will shape and influence our belief systems. In fact, the way we choose to think, will determine the life choices we make. That's why the Word says, in Proverbs 23:7, "As a man thinks in this heart, so he is."
If anyone in the Bible knew the importance of making the correct choices in life, especially in the area of his thoughts, Joshue did. He had to make some very important choices that would affect the very survival of the Israelite nation. When Moses, his predecessor died, Joshua had to fill some mighty big shoes and lead millions of people into their destiny. No wonder he was terrified at the very thought of the task. But the Lord spoke to Joshua and gave him the blueprint to guide him in every choice and decision he would ever have to make in life. We read about it in Joshua 1:8. God told Joshua to take the book of the law, which is the Word of God, and be sure to familiarise himself with everything it taught. He was to fill his mind with its wisdom and never stop meditating on it. He had to be sure that every word he spoke was in character with that wisdom and never contrary to its truth. And then he was to appropriate what the word instructed him to do. God promised Joshua, that if he followed these instructions he would not only prosper, but he would have good success in every thing he did.
Just as the Word of God proved to be the very blue print of Joshua's success, it will be the same for you and me. Just as I faced all those choices in the grocery store, our lives are faced with millions of choices every day. And each choice we make is a direct result of the thoughts we have allowed to dominate our minds. When we choose to make the Word of God the principle source for the way we conduct our lives, wisdom will begin to flow and influence each decision we make.
Now remember, just as I had to keep updating myself on the new products lining the grocery shelves, we need to constantly meditate ont he wisdom of God's Word each day and rely on the Holy Spirit to reveal and activate its wisdom into our lives.
Being the beginning of a brand new year, let's take full advantage of starting it off with a choice that will have a significant consequence on the months to come. By choosing to follow God's success formula in Joshua 1:8, we can make 2016, not just a year of good choices, but a year of choice!