“A leper came to him begging him, and kneeling he said to him, ‘If you choose, you can make me clean.' Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, ‘I do choose. Be made clean.' Immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean.”
Can you imagine what this man must have felt when Jesus looked him in the eyes and said, “I do choose. Be made clean”? THE one who could change his circumstances; THE one who could put an end to his pain and discomfort; THE one who could give his life an entirely new direction looked at him and said, “I do choose. Be made clean.”
And “poof!” his body responded!
No more disease!
No more of his own flesh rebelling against him and turning him into a walking nightmare. In an instant he was healed, whole, made clean.
I have often considered how bodies responded so quickly and easily to Jesus' commands to be healed, and yet, when it came to deeper soul change, Jesus often encountered resistance. From what I can recall from Scripture, every time Jesus said something like, “Be healed,” “Be made clean,” “Get up and walk,” the physical healing happened with little to no hesitation.
However, when Jesus gave an instruction for greater life that involved cooperation of the other person’s personal choice and will—well, we don’t always see change happen. For instance, the rich young ruler in Mark 10 didn’t respond to Jesus’ words about selling everything he owned, giving the money to the poor, and following Jesus the same way the leprous man’s body responded to the words, “Be made clean.” This young man made a choice to say “no" to change and walk away. Unlike the leprous man, transformation did not happen for the rich young ruler, and he was deeply grieved as a result.
In essence, though, Jesus was saying the same thing to the rich young ruler as He was to the man covered in leprosy. Jesus chose new life for the young man whose soul was captured by earthly treasures, every bit as much as He chose life for the man whose skin was covered in disease.
But, you see, when we have a choice in the matter, sometimes we are the ones who stand in the way of our own transformation. It’s not that Jesus doesn’t choose to bring us a life of joy and freedom. It’s that we don’t always choose to do what we need to do in order to step into that life with Him.
I’m just as guilty as the next person in all of this. I’m guilty of expecting Jesus to do way more heavy lifting than me when it comes to my personal transformation. I’m guilty of wanting to experience everything Christ wants for me, and yet not doing what it takes to have those things become a reality in my life. I’m guilty of not wanting to do the hard work of self-denial. I’m guilty of not saying, “I choose.”
So this year, I wrote down some things I’m choosing to do so I can experience more transformation and growth. I fully expect the Holy Spirit to confront me with some things that need to be added to this list. And some of those things that get added may be way more difficult for me to say, “I choose” to. But I am willing to give cooperating with the Holy Spirit my best shot in 2019. I’m also choosing to remember that the Holy Spirit desires my transformation way more than I do. He looks at me and says, “I do choose, Susan. Be made clean. Be healed. Be transformed.”
I share this list of “I choose” statements with you because I think that will give me a little more accountability to them. If you see me, feel free to ask me how it’s going. I’ll do my best to be honest.
I also share this with you to encourage you to make your own list. Let’s leave them open-ended, shall we? Let’s leave plenty of room for the Holy Spirit to tell us what He chooses for us as well. May we all have the confidence to choose the life Christ wants for us.
I choose to be bold and confident for the sake of sharing Your hope and good news with others, and for the sake of living into my created purpose.
I choose this year to unapologetically be salt and light the way You have created me to be.
I choose to NOT be fearful or shy about using my gifts.
I choose to not be lazy about using and cultivating the gifts You have given me.
I choose to be open and not selfish or self-serving.
I choose to be thankful for every opportunity to use my gifts in the coming year.
I choose to learn new things and try new adventures this year.
I choose to trust You in all things.
**I choose to fast from a critical spirit all year.
I choose to be creative.
I choose to be energetic and positive.
I choose to meet new people and establish new relationships.
I choose NOT to compare myself to others this year.
I choose to CELEBRATE how God is using others.
I choose to LEARN from others.
I choose patience in all situations.
I choose to challenge myself physically and become even stronger in my yoga practice. I choose to learn and become steadily good at one new, more difficult pose this year.
Praise you, God, for health and for the opportunity to live my life to the fullest. May 2019 be one of beauty and growth. May my life make a beautiful impact for your Kingdom.
** Just so you know. It’s day sixteen of 2019, and I’ve failed at this and restarted this one at least sixteen times. This is a hard one. However, it’s making me much more aware of my own bent toward being critical. Surely that’s got to count for something, right? ;-)