The Power of Choice
in Our Spiritual Growth
Wade E Taylor
"Then said Jesus unto His disciples,
If any man will come after me,
let him deny himself, and take up
his cross, and follow me"
According to this passage of Scripture, each one of us has
an opportunity to make a life changing choice. If we respond
to this conditional call, we will be led into a progressive
experience of intimate identification with the life and ministry
of our Lord.
"Come, my beloved, let us go forth into the
field; let us lodge in the villages. Let
us get up early to the vineyards; let us see
if the vine flourish, whether the tender
grape appear, and the pomegranates bud
forth: there will I give thee my loves"
Song of Solomon 7:11-12.
Many do not realize, or take seriously the tremendous value
of this offer.
We see in Ephesians 2:8-9 that we cannot earn or merit our
salvation in anyway.
"For by grace are ye saved through faith;
and that not of yourselves: It is the gift
of God: Not of works lest any man should
Once we have received this gift of eternal life, however,
we begin to face choices that will affect our rate of spiritual
growth presently, as well as our position in the eternal ages
It is of eternal importance that we come to understand that
there are spiritual laws which apply to our spiritual development.
"If ye be willing and obedient, ye
shall eat the good of the land" Isa 1:19.
The "If" indicates there are "conditions"
to be met before we will be enabled to partake of the spiritual
nourishment which is promised.
To be "willing and obedient" is to be one with
our Lord in both thought and action. This means our will is
relinquished and merged into His will. The "good of the
land" that we are to partake of results from this oneness
with Him. As we "get up early to the vineyards"
with Him, we will receive spiritual understanding and strength
to help us in following Him. Along with this, we will grow
and expand spiritually.
The Lord is more interested in our coming into a "quality"
relationship with Him than we are. Yet He is a perfect gentleman
and will not force either Himself, or His desire for us, upon
us. Thus, He begins each of these promises with a conditional
"If." We must make the choice.
The Lord has placed within us not only the capacity for obedience,
but He has placed within us also the capacity to rebel. We
may shake our fist against Him if we chose. Therefore, when
we submit ourselves in obedience to Him, we are not responding
as puppets; but rather, out of a willing desire and love for
Him. We have this power of choice.
For example, at times we may not FEEL like worshiping the
Lord. But during these times, as we bend our will and give
to Him our sacrifice of praise, our worship is especially
received and appreciated by the Lord. Usually it is after
an act of obedience such as this, that the Lord will pour
out His grace upon us and an overflow of blessing will emerge.
This can be applied to any facet of our lives where obedience
is required by the Lord. Yet, if we look only toward the reward,
we miss something. We must press on, knowing what the Word
says. For it is in the sufferings of there finer's fire that
the pure gold, His Divine nature, is brought forth in our
He has shown us how this is to be accomplished, "If
any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take
up his cross and follow me." If we truly desire to follow
the Lord, then we must actively resist our own flesh by denying
all carnal desires, and take up our own cross in obedience
to His Word.
"For the flesh lusteth against the spirit, and
the spirit against the flesh: and these are
contrary, the one to the other [they cross +]: so
that you cannot do the things that you would" Gal 5:17
What is this cross, and how do we take it up?
There is an ongoing warfare, a struggle between our natural
desires and His spiritual desire for us. Thus, there are two
contrary wills at war with each other: "I will"
and "Thy will." When the Thy will (His purpose for
us) is contrary to and crosses out the I will (our own wants),
our cross is formed. As I die to my own will, and then submit
to and come into alignment with His will for me, I am taking
up my cross, thereby becoming one with Him.
I am to overcome all feelings of indifference, spiritual
laziness, self will, and rebellion, and then apply these to
the cross that I might prosper in the outworking of His will
for me. I then become an upright, fruit-bearing branch on
the tree of life as a reflection or witness of His life and
purpose. I am doing as He would do.
The Apostle Paul cried from the depths of his being,
"Not as though I had already attained,
either were already perfect: but I
follow after, if that I may apprehend
that for which also I am apprehended of
Christ Jesus" Phil 3:12.
Notice that he said, "That I might apprehend."
He understood he had a choice to make.
We too have a responsibility to apply the cross to our fears
and reactions that we might better follow Him. "The Kingdom
of Heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force"
Matt 11:12. There is a spiritual battle to be won in entering
the Kingdom realm. Those who truly love the Lord, and who
desire to be rightly related to Him in His Kingdom will press
The most important time for us in all of eternity, is "right
now." We are making choices and decisions today that
will effect our eternal reward. Eternal life is not future;
we have that now as part of our redemption. WHAT (not where)
we will be in eternity, will be the result of the accumulated
choices and decisions which we are making - now.
This "new creation life" that we have within us,
is as a little "seed" that is being formulated and
developed into completeness. When it is eventually released
into the "soil" of eternity, it will unfold into
the full manifestation of its makeup.
Any seed, when planted, grows to express its particular nature.
We need not add anything to it, but simply expose to it the
right elements. Then it grows to the fullness of what it is.
The extent to which we spiritually develop in the "here
and now" will become our "measured state" (either
30, 60, or 100fold) for all eternity.
Our present life primarily involves the formulation of this
seed (our spiritual growth), through the outworking of our
willing obedience to Him in taking up our cross daily. Then,
when we find ourselves in the "atmosphere of eternity",
the life that had been developed within this "seed"
will be released to come into its full expression in His eternal
The promise of the Lord is "to him that overcometh."
As we overcome through our willing obedience to the Lord,
He will bring this "good land" into our lives and
provide the atmosphere to fertilize and water the soil of
our obedience. This will bring forth a harvest of the qualities
of the divine nature that the Lord desires to produce within
this "seed" we are becoming.
"The willing and the obedient shall eat the good of
the land". Allow this process to find its full outworking
in your life. Then, as you stand before Him in eternity, He
will look upon you and give to you a new name according to
what He sees.
And you will be pleased.