Life is a series of decisions from beginning to end. We are making choices, either consciously or unconsciously, every second of every day. Most of these fundamental choices like breathing, pumping blood or digesting food are totally automatic, and we are amazingly good at them. What is interesting, is that we are surprisingly bad at our considered decisions.
Every choice not only has natural or explicit consequences, but there is also the opportunity cost - how much better could the outcome have been if I had made a different choice? We have to weigh up working longer hours against spending more time with family; the convenience of eating out regularly against planning meals and saving or giving the money; relaxing with television or digital media against exercising or praying; or, having a brave conversation with someone to help their development against remaining quiet and keeping the peace. The outcome always needs to be viewed from a holistic perspective, and it's always more complicated than first imagined.
This week a close friend of mine was forced to consider the consequences of their pre-planned choices, and when the outcome was revealed, began to wonder whether it was all worthwhile. I'm sure that we've all experienced this feeling at some stage.
It was stated by Jesus that the greatest commandment was to "love the Lord your God with your heart, mind, soul and strength". This is about choices. We are whole people, and so this commandment implies that we are not simply to make our decisions based on morality, or rationally; but we are to make loving decisions and we are to apply a great deal of self control. Making these choices is difficult - arguably impossible - on our own; hence God has given his Holy Spirit to help us.