You are the sum of your choices, not the victim of your circumstances. Some folks attribute the person they become to the way they were raised, the opportunities they had, who their role models were. But history is replete with people who came out of nothing, even out of bad circumstances, and rose to greatness. The truth is more challenging than that and understanding it enlightens us as to how heroes come to be.
What separates the average person from an individual who stands out is the choices they make. This is key in writing. You cannot root for a character that wallows in self-pity, yet you can root for one that rises above the muck to follow conscience and vision.
When I was growing up I refused to let discouragements push me away from my dreams and my spiritual convictions. My parents always told me to dream big and to never stop believing that I could fulfill those dreams. I failed many times, of course, yet God would always put me back on track when I made the right choices again.
I hit a rough patch when I left home to join the work force. Starting when I was sixteen the people I spent hours with at work each day did not share my Christian values. Many of them were good people yet they did not understand my convictions. Constantly my convictions were challenged and I discovered that people really do try to pull you into fellowship with their sins. Otherwise you make them uncomfortable. Many times others offered to pay my way into a strip club or go and get drunk. “You don’t know unless you try,” they’d say.
I do not recall these things to build my esteem in your eyes, but rather to remind and warn. Choice governs our destiny. I made some poor choices during that time that set me back spiritually, but thank God I also made better choices that strengthened me to continue growing toward the type of man I wanted to be.
Many young Christians fall during that transition, even fall away from the faith. It is a time of testing to see if the convictions they voice are a conviction in their souls or merely a carry over from the way they were raised. They allow failings to strengthen discouragement until the pattern of their life is a spiritual defeat. I have seen many hearts turned wholly to the world instead of to seeking God.
The world defines someone as a hero if they “follow their heart.” If they stand out as different from the norm with strange, revolutionary thinking. This is especially true if they depart from tradition; historical and Christian values. Little do these folks realize that the heart is deceitful and desperately wicked. It can be led astray and must be guarded.
A true hero meets those moments when culture challenges them and they stand firm in conviction. In faith and action they demonstrate a desire to grow in favor with God, not with the world.
We are the sum of our choices. Our choices can be guided by wisdom or by the desires of our heart. It’s a hard battle, yet with each right choice we fashion our habits and our destiny in favor with God.
In some ways you could say that true heroes are made, not born. Or, rather, that true heroes are born of their choices. They live with a healthy fear of the God who made them.
Q: To what destiny are your choices guiding you?
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