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Selective service

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POSTED: March 2, 2009 10:00 a.m.
We live in a time when we can pretty much get whatever we want — custom-tailored to how we want it. Restaurant jingles of old taught us we could “hold the pickles, hold the lettuce ...”
In this day and age, you can buy a satellite TV and be selective about which channels you want. Almost every service available, from computers to telephones, comes with a menu of options. Even some doctors offer a variety of services, depending on the treatment you prefer.
When eating in a fast food restaurant, in order to simplify your life and the life of the person taking your order, you choose a number.
When you order a No. 1. from the menu, for instance, you usually get the eatery’s most popular sandwich, fries and a soft drink. But soon, the No. 1 came with more options.
“OK, that’s a No. 1. Do you want to supersize that? Would you like to substitute the fries for some fruit? Or a bowl of chili?”
When I was in grade school, we went to the cafeteria. Students chose from a hot lunch or a bag lunch. Then more choices were made available. Now, there are lines for hamburgers, lines for tacos, lines for the “dinner” menu and even lines for salads.  
Not that I’m complaining. I like having the opportunity to make smart choices regarding what I buy, wear and eat. The problem is we have created such an understanding of our right to selection that we forget there are things that aren’t designed to be selective. To make these decisions selective is to tear away at the fabric of their integrity.
What if a soldier was selective and decided, “I'll carry a knife, but I won’t carry a gun.”  
Our society was built upon the foundation that man has been given certain unalienable rights. However, it should be understood that those rights were afforded by God. In understanding that those rights were established by our Creator, some people ignore the fact that those rights are ultimately subject to Him.
For example, when I was 17, my dad gave me a car. It was my responsibility to maintain that car and drive legally and safely. Although I had been afforded the right to use the car, there was one voice that could determine my ultimate level of freedom. My rights were still in the hands of the one who gave me that freedom — Dad. Too many times, I took advantage of that freedom. Forgiveness was more convenient than obedience and easier to obtain than permission. Little did I realize that my actions actually chipped away at my freedom.
Exercising my rights to drive the way I wanted resulted in tickets and costly fines. It led to higher insurance rates, which led to an acute lack of freedom. The day came when I could not afford my insurance and had to walk. I could offer other examples, but I hope I’ve made my point.
We do the same thing in our relationship with God. Romans 12:1-2 teaches that we are to present our bodies as living sacrifices to God, which is our reasonable service to Him. In addition, we should not conform to the world. We should transform out minds in order to prove God’s good, acceptable and perfect will in our lives.
Reasonable service for many Christians has become selective service. God’s good, acceptable and perfect will has been divided into menu items for many.
The people who divide it miss the point entirely. God’s will is God’s will. It is good, acceptable and perfect all at once. He did not offer you degrees of love. He loves you unconditionally. Therefore, His desire for your life is unilateral. He gives you the freedom to make decisions, yet He never falters when revealing His complete desire for you.
Your relationship with God should never be selective. His word is the litmus test for the thoughts, desires and actions of your life. When God embraced you, He didn’t pull from the menu items of your life. He chose all of you. You should receive Him in the same way. Respond to Him completely. Don’t let your relationship with Him become selective service.

Bvler is the senior pastor of Bethesda Church in Hinesville.

 

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