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The power of choice

JUST recently, I stood at the foot of Mount Olives in the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus was faced with the choice of whether to obey his father’s inspired destiny or succumb to the frailties of his flesh.
He chose to obey God and, therefore, to walk in His destiny of greatness and bringing salvation to the world. Choice is the best part of being human, but if used incorrectly, it can also be the most dangerous.
The Bible is filled with illustrations of decisions with which people were faced and the result of the choices they made. Joseph chose to forgive his brothers who had cruelly mistreated him rather than harbour bitterness.
Samson chose to follow lustful desires rather than God’s plan for his life. Abraham chose to trust God and demonstrate that trust by being willing to offer his son as a sacrifice. Judas chose to betray Christ for financial gain. Of the two thieves crucified on either side of Jesus, one chose to mock Him while the other chose to trust Him. The overriding principle is that while we are responsible for making choices, we cannot control or avoid the consequences of our choices.
In our everyday life, we are faced with three big choices just as Adam was in the Garden of Eden. One of our major choices in life is that we need to choose what we feed on, that is to say, what we allow into our system. We eventually become what we feed on. Thus, what we choose to hear, read or watch will determine what kind of people we become. We cannot know integrity in public life or otherwise if we feed on things that do not point in that direction. Choose to feed on what will open your mind and prepare you for the future you see for yourself.
The other choice we are faced with is, like Adam, to choose how to call the things that come our way. God brought His creation before Adam to see what he would call them, the Bible tells us.
And whatever he called each creation, so it was. None of us chose to be born Zambian but we can choose what to call it. Just the other week in Parliament, Her Honour the Vice-President Inonge Wina lamented over some of our derogatory labelling of our nation to the outside world.
How we have chosen to say every conceivable bad thing about our land to the outside world and how that was beneath the call of patriotism. She was right. When my father died, I had the choice about what to call my situation and myself. Either I could call myself an orphan and lower my expectations in life, but I chose to defy logic and convinced my mind to believe in the possibility of a better life even after the demise of my beloved father and provider.
The name you choose to put on your experiences and circumstances will remain in your memory and keep replaying in your mind until you become what that name suggests.
It is impossible to rise beyond the level you see yourself. Put a label on yourself that reflects your desired destiny. If you call your struggling marriage a prison, it surely will become a prison. If you choose to call Zambia a third world country, you will surely be forever at the back or the tail because, mind you, there is no fourth world! Choose to be the head as God has declared. We are all obliged to say and do our very best because this country deserves our best.
The other choice we are constantly confronted with is to choose who to welcome into our life. Adam chose to welcome Eve. Determine who is coming into your life and those who are exiting. Always remember that when people enter your life, they come with all they have.
If they are wicked they will come with their wickedness. If they are corrupt, they will come with their corruption. Adam chose his exact opposite so that she could complement and complete him. If you are ill-tempered, don’t accept ill-tempered people into your life. Choose a very calm person to bring variety and depth into your life.
God bless you all.
The author is Minister of Foreign Affairs.