That was before I made the most important choice of my life, to receive Jesus as both my Lord and Savior! Since the day I began to follow Jesus, I have become aware of a whole range of choices that I had never considered. My life and choices about my life had always been all about me, but now my focus is shifting towards God and through His love, to others. I am beginning to understand that the choices I make now are molding my character as I become more and more like Jesus! Now it’s all about learning to love, to move in compassion, inner healing, living as a new creation, a new way of thinking, allowing Him to mold me, learning to yield to the very Spirit of God living in me, guiding me, ever encouraging me, and yes even correcting me! Those other choices about what to wear, drive, eat, etc I now see as temporary, what really matters is eternal life with Jesus, loving and living with power so I can bring others to Him!
I am talking about choices and saying all this because the Lord has been speaking to my heart about a choice we face every day…to react or to respond. When I first began to hear this in my spirit I was really confused because I thought react and respond meant the same thing. I looked the definitions up online:
REACT: to act in an opposing or contrary manner to exert an equal force in the opposite direction to an acting force to behave in a particular way because of something that is happening around you or something that someone is doing to you Adverbs frequently used with react ▪ adversely, angrily, badly, unfavourably, violently
RESPOND: to say something in return : make an answer
to show favorable reaction : to be answerable
Origin of respond: alteration of Middle English respounden, from Anglo-French respundre, from Latin respondēre to Promise in return, to answer, from re- + spondēre to promise --
So really it seems that their definitions are very similar but “react” seems to be the negative response, and “response” seems to be the positive reaction. Read that last sentence again, and mull over it a minute! So I went to the Lord with my new understanding of these words and said, “I get it God, it’s the whole “there’s life and death in the power of the tongue” thing, You want me to watch what I say.” But I heard Him speak to my spirit that it is much deeper than that! That it was a matter of heart! That reacting to a situation comes from our mind and our emotions. That when we react to people or a situation in our life that we are making decisions and choices in our flesh and acting upon them. EEEK! As soon as He said that I could see many times recently that I have done just that! It’s so easy to do! In our minds we have this whole picture of what our lives should look like and how we want to be perceived. If anything seems to go against that in any way, our emotions jump up like a petulant child demanding that we be heard, that we show everyone how much we matter! Our mind and emotions our naturally focused on “me”, we have to undergo a renewing, a binding our minds to the mind of Christ!
The Holy Spirit began talking to me about responding in Him. He said to pay attention to the origin of the word respond…promise. Jesus is the PROMISE! That in Him there is always an answer, a positive reaction! Response comes from Him! Response is from my spirit, reaction is from my flesh! He told me that when I am faced with hard choices, those ones that get in my face and in my space…you know those I mean. Those people and situations that question your faith, or authority, or are just plain ugly to you, that make you want to jump up, yelling and screaming, or just defending whats what! That these are times to take a moment to breathe, to put my focus on Him and off of how I “feel”! He said He will help me to respond in Him if I will just yield my mind, will, and emotions over to Him!
I am amazed how much more connected to He who is the Promise, the more and more I choose to respond instead of react! Do I get it right everytime? Unfortunately NO! Sometimes still, I react to people or a situation and make things even messier and more hurtful! But God, (I love those two words) is always teaching me, forever patient, enveloping me with His love. When I choose yielding to Him in response to situations, He always makes a way for His Promise to shine! He is sowing me how to let my spirit rule over my mind! WOOOT!
I choose life! I choose promise! The Holy Spirit of God rules and reigns in me! Thank You Lord!