Anyone remember Adventures in Odyssey? As a kid, I would listen to them at night while I was falling asleep. (They were on cassette tapes, I might add) I drifted off to sleep listening to tales of an imaginary town filled with kids learning about God and the Bible through various life lessons.
One story in particular has always stuck with me. Good ol' Mr. Whittaker was sitting in the shop playing a game with some of the kids. Someone would tell a story, and everyone else had determine the actions and intentions of the protagonist. They would then label the story with one of four categories.
The first label was for the actions of the character. Did they choose to do the right or wrong thing. The second label was for the intentions, or reason the character did what they did.
Of the dozens of Adventures in Odyssey I listened to, this one seems to be the one I remember best. I think because it stuck with me, how we make choices, but just as important as the choice, is our intentions behind it.
Now, I know life isn't always black and white. I know there are shades of grey. I know sometimes the right choice isn't clear. But I'm not talking about those times right now. I'm talking about the situations in which the right answer is staring you in the face. We see flashing lights giving us clear directions. We know where we need to go. We know what we need to do. We know we don't want to do it.
In Romans 6, it talks about no longer being a slave to sin, but a slave to righteousness. I can't tell you how many times I've read or heard that verse. However, it wasn't until recently that it really resonated with me. Someone pointed out to me, it says we are SLAVES to righteousness. I don't know how much you know about slaves, but they don't really have free will. They don't have the option to choose. Their decisions are made for them.
Yes, I know ultimately, as christians, we have free will. We are able to make our own decisions and choose to do what is right or what is wrong. However, when we love Jesus, our ultimate goal is to be more like Him. We strive to do what He would do. We desire to do the right thing, because that is what He would want us to do. We do this not because we are FORCED to, but because we WANT to. Loving Jesus says, "I'm a slave to righteousness." Which means even though I do have the physical choice to say no, in my heart I know I only have one option.
Now, I'm not saying we don't sometimes still choose wrong. No one is perfect. Sometimes we see the flashing lights before us, and still decide to go the other direction. We are all human, right? What I am saying is, we desire to do what is right; and we desire to have the correct intentions when acting.
Ever heard of faking it till you make it? I think this is an appropriate time to use that. We don't always have the right heart when we make our choice. Sometimes we see the black and white. We know what we have to choose, but we are not happy about it. We drag our feet as we walk to what we are sure is our doom. (spoiler alert, it usually isn't.) We make the right decision, but our heart isn't in it. We do it for the wrong reason. It's a Right. Wrong. However, when we fake it long enough, I kinda feel like eventually we make it. By that, I mean it becomes second nature to walk toward Christ. We desire to be like Him, and it gets easier to move in that direction. At some point we realized we are choosing to do the right thing, not only because we know it's right, but because we love Jesus, and our heart is truly behind the decision. Obviously this isn't every time, but it gets easier.
So, after all this rambling, I leave you with this.
Life isn't always black and white.
But sometimes it is.
It can be hard to make the right decision.
It can be even harder to do it for the right reasons.
Not every time. We all still make mistakes, but it gets easier.
Eventually we realize our reason is simply because we love Jesus.
And though we do have a choice, our heart says we have already made it.
We are slaves to righteousness. We do Right. Right. to the very best of our abilities.