I Choose

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But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

(Gal. 5:22-23)

It's morning. Early morning. Quiet, so quiet. The coffee is wonderful. The sky is still black. Carol is sleeping soundly and the day is coming. In a few minutes, the sun will come roaring down the track, dispelling the darkness. The stillness of the dawn will be exchanged for the noise of a new day. The calm of the solitude will be replaced by the pounding pace of the human race, even here in the heart of the Hill Country. This respite of the early morning will be invaded by decisions to be made and deadlines to be met.

During the next fourteen hours, I will be exposed to the demands of a new day. It is now that I must make a choice. Because of God's grace in Jesus, I am free to choose. And so I choose. Now.

I choose love . . . no occasion justifies hatred; no injustice warrants bitterness. I choose love. Today, I will love God and what God loves.

I choose joy . . . I invite the God of Jesus Christ to be the God of my circumstances. I will refuse the temptation to be cynical, the tool of the lazy thinker. I will refuse to see people as anything less than God's creations, made in his Image. I will refuse to see any problem as anything less than an opportunity to serve God.

I choose peace . . . I will live forgiven. I will forgive so that I may live fully.

I choose patience . . . I will overlook the inconveniences of this world. Instead of cursing the one who takes my place, I will invite him to do so. Rather than complaining that the wait is too long, I will thank God for a moment to pray and reflect. Instead of clinching my fists at new assignments, I will face them with joy and courage.

I choose kindness . . . I will be kind to the least, last, strugglers, stragglers, and sinners whom we tend to isolate. I will be kind to the advantaged and rich, for they are so often afraid. I will be kind to the unkind, for that is how God has treated me.

I choose goodness . . . I will go without a dollar before I take a dishonest one. I will be overlooked before I will boast. I will confess before I accuse.

I choose faithfulness . . . today I will keep my promises. My debtors will not regret their trust. My associates will not question my integrity. My wife will not question my fidelity. My children and grandchildren will never fear that I will be unavailable. My friends will have confidence that I will be there for them in their hour of need.

I choose gentleness . . . nothing is won by power and force. I choose to be gentle. If I raise my voice, may it only be in praise. If I clinch my fists, may it only be in prayer. If I make a demand, may it only be of myself.

I choose self-control . . . I am limited, finite, created to be in partnership with God in helping him establish His reign on this earth. After my body dies, I will take on new flesh and my spirit will truly soar. I will refuse to let temporal powers in my mortal body rule the eternal purposes for which I was created. I choose self-control. I will be drunk only by joy. I will be impassioned only by my faith in Christ. I will be influenced only by God's eternal purposes. I will be led only by the spirit of the living Lord.

LOVE, JOY, PEACE, PATIENCE, KINDNESS, GOODNESS, FAITHFULNESS, GENTLENESS, SELF-CONTROL(Gal. 5). To these I commit all of the hours of this day. If I succeed at all, I will give thanks. If I fail, and I surely will, I will seek God's face of forgiveness. And when this day is done, I will place my head on my pillow and rest knowing that what is done is done, and what is left undone is left undone. God's grace is sufficient to cover it all.

Tribute in Memory

Don Murdock, the director of Laity Lodge, passed away in 2006. He wrote this piece in March 1999.