“God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity he restored. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him.” (Romans 8:29 MSG)
You are wonderfully complex (Psalm 139:14). To fulfill God’s purpose for you, you have to look at every dimension of your life and understand five factors that influence your identity. We’ve talked this week about the ways that our chemistry, our connections, our circumstances, and our consciousness affect the way we are shaped.
If these factors were like the five cards you’re dealt in a game of poker, then the fifth factor would be your wild card. Why? Because it’s your choices, and it affects all your other cards. You may not be able to control the hand you were dealt, but you can use your wild card to change the way you live your life by the choices you make.
The Bible says we are created in the image of God. No other animal was created in the image of God! Dogs have instinct but don’t know the difference between right and wrong. Elephants have no moral compass. But you get to choose to do right or wrong. The freedom to choose is man’s greatest blessing and also his greatest curse, because we make stupid choices all the time that harm us and everyone around us.
The wild card can change the suit and number of the other cards you are dealt. You didn’t choose your chemistry, but you can choose what you do with your body. You didn’t choose your connections, but you can make new relationships and mend or nurture the ones you already have. You can choose how you respond to your circumstances, and you can choose to stop believing the harmful things people say to you.
Your identity is shaped by your choices. What choices will you make today that will positively affect the rest of your life?
Talk About It
What do you need from God today to help you overcome the difficult circumstances in your life that keep you from making good choices?
Pray, and ask God for the help you need.
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller "The Purpose Driven Life." His book, "The Purpose Driven Church," was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also the founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.
This devotional ©2012 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.