What compels us to respond or behave in the ways we do? Of course it’s choice, but what motivates our choices? Choice is the lynch-pin between our thoughts and desires to respond, and our actions of doing so. In almost every case of voluntary decision our first inclination of response is most often to do what we want. That is, we proceed with a responsive action we think will bring us the result we desire or intend for ourselves. After years of commercial advertising bombardments and layers of socialization reinforcing a misconceived notion that we deserve everything we desire and we deserve to have it immediately, it is no wonder that our initial approach to every opportunity is to ‘get mine’ or ‘do what I want’ regardless of any potential negative fallout or harm to ourselves or others. We trust ourselves and our instincts implicitly concerning our situations and therefore propel ourselves forward often with abandon. In doing so, it’s possible to suffer consequences in both the short and long terms. It is when those consequences in fact turn out to be detrimental to our well being that we often turn to “God” for either consolation or as the object of disdain or disappointment upon which to place our blame, disgust and hatred for not allowing our heartfelt wish to become our realty. In a state of anger we may verbally or mentally reject God for having rejected our desire. And so we drift, farther from the omnipotent source which we think, believe, have been told, or taught exists and will be there for us.
With each opportunity or choice/decision we have before us we instinctively rely on three essential thoughts;
1. Past experience
2. An internal belief in a positive or negative outcome, and
3. A benefit to ourselves.
Before we actually decide and take action, choices play out (in split seconds) within the mind as possibilities related to these three are mentally examined. We desire and tend to see (decision) opportunities as a way of advancing ourselves in some manner or position with little to no regard for possible negative consequences. When decisions and choices are presented to us for a response we are usually focused on the outcome we desire. We often remain intent on that outcome at the expense of giving thought to any negative possibilities. A highly negativity consequence should immediately turn us away from proceeding further with our choice, but not always. An example would be “Driving Under the Influence.” If I am intoxicated enough to cause harm to myself or others by driving, three outcomes are possible; A. I may cause or be involved in a collision, B. I may be arrested by the authorities, or C. I make it home without either of the other two taking place. Innately I know that the odds are against me two-to-one and by the very nature of statistics if I continue to drive under the influence repeatedly the odds of a negative outcome increase. Based on my knowledge of the possible costs of the negatives I should have a designated driver, ride with a sober driver, or call a taxi if I am going to drink or imbibe controlled substances and require transportation. This is just one example. Perhaps you are familiar with others where life, limb, or even your general well being are or have been at risk by ignoring your three precursor thoughts when faced with a decision of active response.
As stated, our first instinct is to trust ourselves and our ability to control our own decisions. After all we each have a lifetime history of making choices (and we each know where that has led.) And yet, most of us continue down the same path relying on the same patterns of choice and decision we are comfortable with regardless of any ‘not-so-good’ outcomes we also may be familiar with. So why is it we implicitly trust our decision making process in the face of so many prior ill-advised choices? More bluntly, why do we keep making the same fateful choices and mistakes? Don’t we trust ourselves? Or perhaps more aptly put, why do we continue to trust others who persistently and continually influence or take advantage of us thereby doing us harm? If we no longer trust ourselves to make good decisions or choices, to whom or which of them do we turn?
Is God Real? Is Satan Real? Many believe so, others doubt it. If we are on our own in all of this are either of them influencing our choices and decisions? For the believer in God’s existence, He may (or may not) be an invited guest dwelling within. For the nonbeliever, God is a moot point.
When we act upon a choice, one of them may have had influential subconscious input at our precipice point of decision. It’s been said, ‘God tests, while Satan tempts’. The temptations and ways of the ‘prince of this world’ are ever present, prompted and promoted. It is within the bounds of self-indulgent achievements and motivations upon which the material world exists and moves ever forward. Keeping one’s focus on self-gratification at all times, in all ways and at all costs makes our choices and direction not only easy, it also relieves us of any responsibility for harm or disappointment we might cause in our quest for total self-fulfillment.
Given our historic pattern of ‘errors in judgment’ it’s no wonder we begin to doubt not only our choices and decisions but the active or inactive presence of an ‘omnipotent other source’ we know, or knew, or at one time trusted to guide and help us, instead of mock and punish us. Needless to say many of us have become ‘gun-shy’ and therefore hesitate to examine our options more fully prior to jumping into action. When we make a choice which leads to actions based on self-aggrandizement regardless of the means or outcome, we can rest assured there has been no interference from God and total support from the forces of evil in the world.
By not trusting God’s presence to be in our lives we absolve ourselves of moral and ethical imperatives toward ourselves and others. This is exactly what the wiles and wills of evil in the world under the tutelage of Satan desire, for he is always actively involved with influencing our every material and carnal desire. Abdicating moral or ethical adherence invites active indoctrination of distrust for ourselves and our choices/decisions. The dichotomy here is that God will neither interfere with our desire to disobey His moral and ethical guidance, nor will He punish us, or absolve us of the consequences by the choices we make. In a nutshell, we really are on our own until we decide to pursue God. For this reason we must learn to trust our choices/decisions and be assured that when we make and act upon them, they truly are in our own best interests. So how do we do this?
God may (or may not) be present, Satan may (or may not) be present, but in the end we are on our own. We must own our choices, decisions and actions. How do we go about trusting ourselves and in so doing trust God (if that is our relationship desire)? We must remember that as believers in His existence and Holiness, His desire for us is as a loving parent who wants only the best for His children. Again, for the nonbeliever, this is a non-issue. They trust themselves and their choices/decisions no matter the outcome. Their motto; “Win some, lose some.” But for us, the believers who have accepted His presence in our lives, either little or much, long ago or today, by trusting His Word and His Spiritual presence/guidance within, we can learn to truly, in every instance trust ourselves with each and every choice or decision we make.
How does this process work? First we must realize that God will not decide for us. That’s what the blessing of ‘Free Will’ is all about. Our choices must be ours to make. This is the fundamental upon which a relationship with God is established and continues, for if we choose to have (or not) a spiritual relationship with God, it must be of our own volition. Once we understand God will not interfere or attempt to coerce us in deciding; either about Him, about our relationship with Him, or about the daily options and opportunities we encounter, we will come to realize that if our efforts are aligned with His for us, then our choices and decisions will be truly in our own best interests. Through this spiritual nature they will then be morally and ethically grounded. Within such a framework each decision/choice and action will be in our best interest. With His spiritual presence and guidance to aide in our thought decisions and subsequent actions we will successfully build a new track record of good choices with positive outcomes, and good choices by avoiding ahead of time, negative producing outcomes. As we grow and experience more positive results in our choices and as we avoid the negative fallout from decisions that we now side-step instead of initiating, we will be aware of His presence more fully and know our spiritual relationship is strengthened. Through continued success in trusting ourselves to make better decisions and choices our confidence is bolstered to new levels where we decide, and He concurs.
In the Hawaiian language, "Mana'o" (ma na o) is the word used to describe 'thoughts, ideas, and opinions'.
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