Freedom of choice is a right that we fight for, it is something that we cherish, and it is something that we believe defines us as human, differentiates us from animals and it is something that we have been told is our right.

I’m a father and as my children were growing up, I had to modify the amounts of freedom to choose I granted my children. As I became aware that they were capable of more responsibility, I tried to grant as much as I thought was “safe”. Just because a 3-year-old has taste preference, does not mean that he or she can design their own diet.

The same is true in a professional scenario. We all manage a trust or choice situation with other people, suppliers, situations, piers, friends, and colleagues. We somehow learn that some you can trust with some things and others not. We use the extension of trust, and how they treat that freedom of choice, towards another as a barometer on how much trust and freedom we should allow them during the next encounter. This is true of most cultures and environments I have been exposed to so far.

Then one beautiful sunny and warm autumn day a friend trusts you enough to simply be there for them, and instead you preach to them, “helping” by correcting… Yes, it does feel terrible when you realize that all they wanted an understanding, and probably very quiet, hug. You realize that your own situation or viewpoint was more important to you at that moment, and it was making so much noise that you completely lose perspective of what was important to your friend. Funny thing is, the words that were preached were true, they were meant in honesty and your intent was good, none of which made you feel better, or the person that trusted you.

Self-actualization, self-realization, attainment of happiness are all fundamental themes of our lives. We all strive to become better, stronger, more reliable, determined, successful and above all recognized humans. That does not sound so terrible until you discover a few truths in life. You realize that your beautiful daughter will never ever be able to have a meaningful and loving relationship with someone if her precious little heart does not get shattered and broken. You know that your son cannot ride a skateboard without blue marks, bumps, and scrapes. You realize that you cannot be happy, without knowing sad, or pain, or disappointment or many, many other terrible things.

The battle for happiness lives in our minds, our hearts, and our souls. We know that owning things and having resources provides comfort and access to opportunities. We also know that things don’t provide us with happiness. Happiness is a choice deep inside of us. If I owned a fantastic house, I can live inside a magnificent prison, or I can be the happiest person alive. The house does not add or detract from how happy I choose to feel.

I have asked God for possessions and money. With hindsight, I have mixed feelings about that. I realize that sometimes my humanness gets the better of me. My insecurity of who I am overwhelms me and I need things to improve on what I believe other people think of me.

Galatians 5:13 (NIV) – You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.

Once I asked God for patience. In hindsight, it was a dreadful human mistake, but an amazing spiritual gift. We forget sometimes that God carefully crafted and selected us from billions of choices at His disposal. With that knowledge, God elected to take the shortest route to hear and honor my request. He allowed me to become dreadfully poor (financially). That was humiliating, sobering and I honestly believed that He had forsaken me. In the process, I learned to become more patient, physically, emotionally and spiritually. I learned that gratitude is an astonishing gift and that people’s worth does not reside in their bank accounts. I had the privilege of learning that kneeling at His feet is where I can experience the quiet that eludes the impatient.

Romans 10:9-10 (NIV) – If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

If you really think about this passage from Romans, you realize that every human can obtain salvation in an instant. Immediately!!! No church to attend, no book to read, no prayer, no sign, good work, sacrifice or anything you have on offer can get you salvation. God simply wants you to choose HIM. Everything else is insignificant, everything we can offer is insignificant.

If everything we can give towards salvation is insignificant, worthless and without value, then why do we value it so much? If all these things are valueless for God, why do we spend so much time and effort chasing it? Why do we measure human worth by the sum-total of their possessions?

Genesis 1:27-28 (NIV) – So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

Genesis 3:8 (NIV) – Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.

We were made with the drive to be fruitful, multiply, increase, fill and subdue. We were also made for another reason; to literally talk with God.

When Satan tempted Adam and Eve, he used these exact two things. The temptation was overwhelming, and they succumbed. But we need to understand the mechanics. Satan offered them “more” of what they knew they knew they were created for.

Sometimes we confuse these two things. In our pursuit to get more of these two things, we ask. Our insatiable hunger for “completeness” drives us to aspire for more. This “hunger” is not in itself a bad thing. It is Why God created us… Then how do we get it so wrong?

When I trust my son with my car, he understands the gravity of the situation. He understands the implications of what would happen if he disrespects the trust. So far, I am proud to report that he has behaved impeccably. And the gratitude I have for his behavior is a significant building block in our relationship. It is a two-way street. We both win if he acts responsibly.

That is all God expects of you and me. If we sin (bump the car) there will be consequences; mostly bad. If we act responsibly, there will be joy, conversation, a mutual building of our relationship and growth. And yet…

We overreach, we push too hard, we allow our ambitions to overrun our ability. We stretch our relationship with Him.

2 Peter 3:9 (NIV) – The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

We have a patient God, that allows us the freedom to choose, every second of every day. We are not a puppet on a string, we don’t jump and blindly follow God’s command. He trusted us with more!

Our lives can and will change every instant we make a choice. We were saved before we were born, and how do we act on that? How do we repay the enormity of that gift from God?

Matthew 6:33 (NIV) – But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Revelation 3:19-22 (NIV) – Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

These are not complex things to understand. God does not exist to make sure you get a great parking spot, and you do not exist to succeed at a cost that excludes Him!

We simply were not made to live without God…

I am not a prosperity preacher, but this is written:

Philippians 4:19 (NIV) – And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

James 1:17 (NIV) – Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

Psalm 1:1-3 (NIV) – Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers.

2 Corinthians 9:8 (NIV) – And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

Please receive this blessing…

Philippians 4:7 (NIV) – And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

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Author's Bio: 

Anton van den Berg is a normal person. I have no specialized theological training but I have led a life of hard and tough lessons. Like silver, I had to be taken to the furnace to get rid of a lot of impurities. In that process, I have learned to let certain things go, and to attach to other values. These posts represent some of the pivotal growth-moments in that journey. I hope that it would assist you on your journey in some way. May God Almighty, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit be with you.