The fifth card in the hand you have been dealt is the most important. This fifth card is choices. Everything in life is a choice. Every second of every day we are choosing one thing or another. The choices card has the power to change all the other cards, because it controls all the other cards. If we learn to use this card correctly, it doesn’t matter how bad the previous four cards seem, you can win the game of poker.

As human beings, we are given a great gift, and that gift is the ability to make choices; to have a free will. Free will is a gift that God gave to us out of his love and his respect for us. Free will was the best thing we were ever given. It is also the worst thing we were ever given because free will, by it’s very nature, means you have the power to choose. And because you have the power to choose, you have the ability to make good and not-so-good choices.

You and I did not choose our chemistry, but we do choose what we do with our chemistry. I didn’t choose my family, but I do choose which relationships to build and invest in and which ones to get rid of. Same thing with circumstances and consciousness.

What do you do when you don’t know what to do with the cards you have been dealt and life is demanding an answer? This situation and question perplexes many people every single day of their lives. And it often comes down to a choice.

Ever since the garden of Eden; the choice to obey God or choose our own way, has existed. And just as in the Garden, our choices don’t always take us where we want to go. The story of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15 reminds us of that. After leaving the security and restrictions of his father’s home, he began to live in an undisciplined spending spree. Eventually the money ran out and so did the friends and good times. He found himself in a pig pen feeding hogs. This was quite a change from the high life he had been living. Did God put him there? Absolutely not. His choices brought him to this point. Yet, it was in the pig pen where God found him. The scriptures tell us that “when he had come to his senses,” he returned to his father.

This is a reminder to us that even though we are suffering for our wrong choices; God is still desiring to reach down to us and move forward beyond our bad choices and past failures to a new life back in the protection of our Father’s house.

Proverbs 19:21 says, “There are many plans in a man’s heart, Nevertheless the Lord’s counsel—that will stand.” (NKJV)  God’s unchanging counsel is always perfect. As you seek His guidance and stay committed to doing what He says, you will find yourself becoming more consistent in making wise choices. Keep in mind that no one makes right choices every single time, and there are bound to be times when it becomes readily apparent that you have made a poor choice. When this happens, be quick to set aside concerns about the cards you have been dealt. Simply pray, and ask God to move you froward in the right direction.

Deuteronomy 30:19-20, (NLT) says, “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! You can make this choice by loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life. And if you love and obey the Lord, you will live long in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”

When all is said and done, and you look back on your life, what will you be proud of, and what choices will you regret? What choices will have contributed to making things better, and what choices will add to the problem. To use a poker analogy, it is moving “all in” and betting it all on Him and betting that the cards you were dealt are the perfect cards for you.

Discussion Questions:
1. Do an honest evaluation and ask yourself this question: How effectively do I use the choices card in my life today? If you wish you made better choices, the following questions will help you in the decision making process. Ask yourself the following questions when faced with a choice.
2. Does my choice line up with scripture? If the answer is “no,” you don’t need to go any further because God will never lead you to do something that goes against scripture.
3. Will this decision bring you closer to the Lord or will it draw you away from Him? Will this build you up?
4. Will the result of this choice bring pleasure to God, or are you doing it to please someone else? Every decision you make reflects who you were serving at the time you made it.
5. Will the action that results from this choice clearly show God’s love, or will it reveal that the decision came from a different motivation? Will it promote unity, or will it result in dissension?
6. Ask yourself: will this choice bring glory to the Lord or will it in some way dishonor or discredit Him?