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Faith and Choice

“As we tend to center our world (and ourselves) in the question of our choices, we are constantly tempted to justify those we feel were wrong. By the same token, we bring an anxiety about the choices that are yet to come. The power of goodness is not within our choice. We do not create the good – it is given to us. The impossible reality that surrounds our choices is seen when we examine the limits of our existence. We cannot see the consequences of our actions (beyond the most immediate circumstances) nor can we control the myriad of other events that will interact with any choice we might make. We are simply insufficient of ourselves to create good through our choices. This does not negate the place that choice has in our lives. However, like everything about a contingent being, it is relativized. God alone is the source of the good, and whatever participation our lives have in goodness is His gift to us. We cannot weigh or consider the good in a manner apart from God. There is no such thing as a “secular” good.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“The biggest choice we should make is the choice many of us either do not make, or we see it as one of many choices as opposed to the choice. This choice is to choose God and seek Him above all else and make it our absolute number one priority with the realization that everything we are, think, and do flows from this choice. We cause ourselves so much grief and anxiety by not making this choice, and consciously or unconsciously thinking we are much more in control than we are, and giving in to this subtle narcissism that we do not detect within ourselves. That’s why Christ says to seek God first and all other things will be given to us (Matthew 6:33). It’s not good advice. It’s a reminder to choose life and our true state of being.” (Sacramental Living Ministries)

“The worldly constructs of success and failure become foreign and inconsequential to the soul who is seeking first “the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matt. 6:33). Success is redefined as abiding in God; failure would be to lose hope or to choose to become a self-worshiping narcissist. Whether or not one’s career takes off is irrelevant.” (Jonathan Jackson)

“…to be human is to worship…In the day-to-day trenches of adult life, there is no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship.” (David Foster Wallace, James Smith)

“Each of us has the God-given freedom to enter “into the covenant of the Lord” (Deuteronomy 29:11) or to “flatter himself in his heart” and go wandering (Deuteronomy 29:18)…Ultimately, we either choose to submit to Christ as Lord and God or we do not. God does not force Himself on us.” (Dynamis 7/17/2019, 5/7/2020)

“Searching out God’s will demands alertness of spirit. Let us set aside the belief that we are in charge and embrace the apostle’s (St. Paul’s) humility. When we place the details of our lives in Christ’s hands, seeking His will and accepting our Lord as the Governor of our life’s path, we will discover the joy of having an infallible Guide manage our choices at every moment.” (Dynamis 8/1/2018)

“The life in Christ is a series of choices and actions undertaken after the manner of Abraham. It is a journey that carries us far from the measurable and the familiar, directing us toward a new way of life. We learn to follow this new way by means of sustained obedience over many years. Once God establishes our priorities, we can no longer elevate family, property, career, or worldly pleasures into absolute goals in life.” (Dynamis 3/16/2018)

“Sometimes when we pray to God we just want Him to tell us what to do. But often what we are praying is a prayer of abdication of our free will because we don’t want to choose. And we don’t want to choose because we are afraid of choosing incorrectly. What we have to understand is that we must make choices and God will be with us no matter what, helping us to grow when we make good choices, and also helping us course-correct, and therefore also grow, when we make bad choices. This is what faith is about and faith rests in action.” (Sacramental Living Blog)

“A man walking through the forest saw a fox that had lost its legs and he wondered how it lived. Then he saw a tiger come up with game in its mouth. The tiger ate its fill and left the rest of the meat for the fox. The next day God fed the fox by the means of the same tiger. The man began to wonder at God's greatness and said to himself, "I too shall just rest in a corner with full trust in the Lord and he will provide me with all that I need." He did this for many days but nothing happened, and he was almost at death's door when he heard a voice say, "O you who are in the path of error, open your eyes to the truth! Stop imitating the fox and follow the example of the tiger.” (Ernest Kurtz and Katherine Ketcham)

“Each time the mystery of suffering touches us personally and all the cosmic questions arise fresh in our minds we face the choice between faith (which accepts) and unbelief (which refuses to accept)" (Elisabeth Elliot)

“A man in this world must solve a problem: to be with Christ, or to be against Him. And every man decides this, whether he wants to or not. He will either be a lover of Christ or a fighter of Christ. There is no third option.” (St. Justin Popovich)

“Christ said in Matthew 12:30 ‘Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.’ As much as it seems over simplified in the modern world, our faith is binary. We either choose Christ or we don’t. There is no in-between.” (Sacramental Living Ministries)

“Jesus’ ministry forces everyone to make a choice. Neutrality is not an option. Either Jesus comes from God or He does not.” (Foundation Study Bible, Luke 11:23)

“In the end, either Christ is at the center of our lives, or the Self and all its idolatries are. There is no middle ground.” (Rod Dreher)

“Our mind should constantly be on Christ, since He is our goal…Our salvation can be found in Christ alone.” (Papa Demetri, Dynamis 12/5/14)

“When all is said and done, at the bottom line faith is a function of will—you must want to believe. The person who does not wish to—even if he sees God, he will not believe.” (Elder Pavlos)

“Anyone who wishes to play the piano or be a good golfer will not attain that goal without effort. Faith, if it is to sustain us and give us meaning in life, will remain dormant if we refuse to put any effort into it. Faith comes to us when we make the effort to reach out to God, confess our doubt, and invite faith into our heart.” (Abbot Tryphon)

“Faith is a gift from God; it is more so a decision. We decide to believe in God, whom we cannot see with our eyes or touch with our hands as did St. Thomas before he believed. We decide to trust in God when circumstances are beyond our control. We decide to be followers of Jesus Christ when the world around us dictates otherwise.” (Fr. Joseph Irvin)

“We should strive to think with the mind of the Lord – to will as He wills, and choose as He chooses. Practiced over time, such thinking yields a Christian mindset.” (Dynamis 6/29/2015)

“For faith to be present, action is required…Faith gathers strength by waiting and praying.” (Jane Jarrell, E. M. Bounds)

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