In Your Life
“Do the next right thing.” This sentiment is prevalent in the world of Alcoholics Anonymous, as a way for people to stay centered and grounded in times of inner tumult. Two years prior to the origination of AA, Carl Jung, a Swiss psychiatrist, wrote a letter to someone who was struggling and included this very same sentiment. Yet, not in such a concise, easy to remember, format. (Selected Letters of C.G. Jung, 1909-1961). Earlier still, King Solomon in Proverbs 21:3 wrote, “To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.”
Life is full of choices. We all know and understand this fact. But, too many of us refuse to know and stand under another fact – Only you can make those choices. There’s no magical formula. There’s no “Just add water” mix for a perfect life. There’s only you, making choices in each and every single individual moment of your life.
This is a gift from God called free will. God loves you so much that God has given you the ability to make choices. To live your life in whatever way you choose. Yet, God hasn’t left you out there, dangling all alone. God has given you direction, examples and presence. God is walking with you, guiding you and informing you. Yet, God has given you the freedom to accept or reject this direction, guidance and informing. God has left all of that up to you. Now that’s love.
This is significant because the gift of free will allows you to live a life of faith. No free will, no life of faith. For you make the free will choice to believe and to follow. Notice I didn’t say to believe and follow Jesus. For God’s gift of free will allows you to believe and follow anything or anyone of your choosing.
Each and every single human being who has ever lived and will ever live, is a person of faith. All of us believe in something or someone. Even if you claim to believe in nothing at all, that’s still faith. For faith is the foundational filter of your life. Every decision that you make flows through your faith filter. Even if that faith is in nothing at all.
All of this is only possible because of the gift of free will. Free will is a wonderful benefit of being human. A benefit that isn’t shared by any other earthly creature. Without free will we would all be robots. For we would be programmed to believe in a specific thing, act in a certain way and live, not as divinely created individuals, but as a creator’s play thing, simply carrying out an algorithm.
A free will choice is so much more powerful, meaningful and impactful then a programmed response. Your “Yes” is not powerful, meaningful or impactful, if “No” isn’t an option. A relationship that you are forced to be in can’t hold a candle to a relationship that you want to be in. It’s the free will choice to be in the relationship, to decide, that creates the power, meaning and impact. For all of us desire the ability to decide. All of us know what it means to live a life devoid of the opportunity to decide. And none of us want to live that kind of life.
The goal here is to help you stand under the gift of free will. To celebrate free will. To seize the possibilities and the opportunities that free will affords. The opportunity and the possibility of doing the next right thing.
For if you are able to claim the gift of free will, in your life. If you are able to celebrate the gift of free will, in your life. If you are able to seize the opportunities and the possibilities that free will affords, in your life. You are that much closer to claiming, celebrating and seizing the reality and the presence of God, in your life.
And, if all of this is true, you are that much closer to accepting the saving grace that has been extended to you in Jesus, in your life. You’re that much closer to making your very own free will decision to believe in and follow Jesus. Which, if you’ve been paying attention, is truly the next right thing to do.