Reggie was a gifted worship leader who sang in multiple choirs—often directing them as they sang. Watching him direct a choir was a joy for many to see because Reggie didn’t just use his hands or his arms. Reggie put his whole body into directing the choir—head to toe.
One day, at a choir event, Reggie introduced me to some fellow choir members. After chatting for a while one of them said, “Reggie, why haven’t you brought your wife to sing in the choir. She’s lovely.”
Reggie responded very diplomatically, “Yes, she is, but her place is in the congregation, not the choir. She sings in the congregation.”
Everybody laughed—myself included. Then, I laughingly asked, “Are you trying to say I can’t sing?”
“No, you can sing. You’re just gifted to sing in the congregation, not the choir,” Reggie smiled.We all have our gifts and talents. Click To Tweet
Reggie was right. I’m not a bad singer, but I’m not a great singer either. I can carry a tune, but I’m not gifted to sing before people.
That’s okay. We all have our gifts and talents. My gifts lie elsewhere. I’m a gifted communicator. And I long ago accepted my limitations musically. Also, as someone who outwardly expresses my worship when singing in the congregation through lifting my hands, swaying to the music, even dancing in my pew, I have helped others grow more comfortable expressing their worship outwardly too—from the pew.
So, my singing ability has limits. As a writer and speaker, I have other non-musical options of communication. Through my blog and the book that I’m writing, I freely exercise my communication gifts.
Part 6 of Choosy Wisely
Several weeks ago, I started a series on making decisions when creating a new life. The series is a deep dive into Genesis 2:15-17 using food choices as a metaphor for life choices. In other words, the directions God gave Adam to choose the food that made up his diet contain guidelines we can use in choosing the activities that make up our lives. Today’s post is part 6 in the series.
Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." ~ Genesis 2:15-17
I’ve shared before that I’m a word person, but I don’t believe I have shared why. One of the biggest reasons I’m a word person is because often learning the true meanings of the words I’m studying makes me want to shout. The word freely in Genesis 2:16 is one of those words. Very simply, the freedoms expressed in the word freely bring me joy.
The first definition for freely that made me want to shout was “not under the power of another; able to act as one pleases.” I wanted to shout because when God provided the food, He also granted Adam the power or ability to eat the food.
Now, this might not sound like much, but remember food choices are a metaphor for life choices. So, when God gives us choices, He frees or empowers us to do whatever we please—within the bounds of that choice. For instance, when it came to eating, the bounds were the trees of the garden. He was free to eat, but only of the trees in the garden. That is comparable to God saying, “You can eat whatever you want in the grocery store.”
Not under the power of another; able to act as one pleases.
As to life choices, take my communication gift. God has empowered me to freely operate through verbal and written communications. Through my gift, I have many options and I’m free to choose any of them and write well.
I opted to write devotionals, blog posts and books, but I could choose other forms of writing, such as magazine articles. I’m also free to choose topics. I chose creating a new life, but I’m free to choose other topics.
With singing, I don’t have that freedom. I can’t choose soul, rock, pop, or country music and sound good. But with writing and speaking, I can move freely. And for me, that’s something to shout about.
The second definition for freely that made me want to shout was “not under the control of another; able to influence acts as one pleases.” With this definition, when God provided the food, He granted Adam the power to control what food was eaten and influence who ate what food. Because God grants us freewill, we aren’t under God’s control.
This was the case when the serpent entered the garden (Genesis 3). Had Eve been under God’s control and influence, the serpent couldn’t have deceived her.
Not under the control of another; able to influence acts as one pleases.
Now I know that alone doesn’t sound like something to shout about, but wait. There’s more.
Just like Eve was able to influence Adam after being deceived by the serpent, I/we can influence others after embracing the Good News of Jesus Christ. And instead of biting into something deadly, we can persuade them to taste and see that the Lord is good. That, my friend, is most definitely something to shout about.
But wait again. There is yet more.
For me, as a writer and speaker, learning that God has blessed me with influence is powerful. (Pun intended.) As a Christian commanded (empowered) to freely spread the Gospel, I want to shout it to high heaven.
The third and fourth definitions for freely that made me want to shout were “without interference or hindrances” and “in copious amounts,” respectively. These definitions speak to God granting Adam the power to decide how the food was eaten. In other words, because I’m not hindered, I can accomplish great things and in great amounts. The size the limit.
Without interference or hindrances and in generous amounts.
Because I am free to write, there are no hindrances to my writing. I can produce abundant amounts of writing. My writing can be insightful, profound, and deep. And I can do it all with ease—because without interference means the increased difficulty brought on when Adam was cursed for his sin doesn’t keep me from being productive, creative, and fruitful. I’m blessed to be fruitful, multiply, and create fruit that lasts.I’m blessed to be fruitful, multiply, and create fruit that lasts. Click To Tweet
You know, if I wasn’t already shouting, this would definitely have me whooping and hollering.
I also need to keep it in check, so I can share the our next guideline for today’s article:
Guideline 14: Choose activities that allow you to maximize your power and influence.
The fifth and final definition for freely that made me want to shout was “given without cost or charge.” With this definition, when God provided the food, it came without cost or charge. Adam ate free of charge. As long as Adam ate of the trees of the garden—except the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, Adam didn’t have to pay anything.
The same is true for us. When God gives us choices, as long as we stay in the boundaries of the choice, we don’t have to pay a price. As long as we follow the directions, we don’t owe God anything.
We live in a world where few things are free. But everything God gives us is exactly that—free. And that is truly remarkable.
Given without cost or charge.
It’s remarkable because God granted Adam the power to freely eat before the Fall, before the curse, before man sinned. That’s remarkable because before Adam sinned he didn’t have to pay because there was no price to be paid. But after he sinned, there was a price to be paid. Yet we don’t pay it.We don’t pay the price because Jesus paid it for us. Click To Tweet
Now, of all the freedoms, that I have shared here, I find this one to be the most shout worthy.
I have power, control, and influence without hindrance or interference allowing me to create great things in great amounts at no cost. Yes, I can create a life He loves and I enjoy—and you can too.
Yes, I will shout about my God because these are praiseworthy things.
Until next time,
The “Choosing Wisely” Series:
- Part 1a – Choosing Wisely
- Part 1b – Getting to the Root
- Part 1c – Fueling Your New Life
- Part 2 – A Habitat for Humanity
- Part 3 – The Order of Rest
- Part 4 – The Right Conditions for Rest
- Part 5 – What’s the Best Decision-Making Process for Creating New Lives?
- Part 6 – Five Freedoms When Creating a New Life
- Part 7 – The Risks of Giving Into Temptation
- Part 8 – How Knowledge Plays in Decision Making
- Part 9 – How Morality Applies to Decision Making
- Part 10 – Biblical Concepts of Time When Making Decisions
- Part 11 – Some Certainties We Have in This Life
- Part 12 – How Will Your Relationship End?
COMPLETE LIST OF GUIDELINES
Guideline #1: Choose activities that align with our assignments.
Guideline #1a: The availability of activities that align with our new lives depends on the level of effort we put into completing our assignments.
Guideline #2: Choose activities that support our assignments.
Guideline #3: Choose activities that provide what our lives and assignments need to live, grow, and stay healthy so that we can produce the best fruit.
Guideline #3a: Choose activities that balance the things related to our assignments that we want to do with the things related to our assignments that we need to do.
Guideline #4: During seasons of plenty, choose activities that for seasons of scarcity by storing excess resources.
Guideline #5: Choose activities that are fueled or empowered by the Son.
Guideline #5a: Choose activities that are fueled by clean energy—energy that doesn’t pollute the environment and has a positive impact on the environment by counteracting the pollution produced by “dirty energy.”
Guideline #5b: Engage in activities that are fueled by renewable energy—energy that is never depleted or is constantly replenished.
Guideline #5c: Choose activities that are fueled by universal energy—energy that is accessible anywhere.
Guideline 6: Choose activities that worship and serve the Lord.
Guideline 7: Choose activities that obey the Lord’s commands.
Guideline 8: Choose activities that are enjoyable and satisfying.
Guideline 9: Choose to complete activities in order.
Guideline 10: Choose to rest before beginning your assignments.
Guideline 11: Choose to rest your new life on a solid, unchanging foundation.
Guideline 12: Always start with God.
Guideline 13: Choose the best option.
Guideline 14: Choose activities that allow you to maximize your power and influence.