Choice before ChangeSin
Exodus 20:17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house… your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
The 10th Commandment; “You shall not covet”, is the only commandment that cannot be witnessed by other people. All of the other 9 commandments can be obeyed externally where other people can see your obedience, however only this one is hidden to the external world. Only the individual knows if they are coveting or not.
Steven Furtick makes the point that this is because the 10th commandment is a reward for obeying the previous 9. All of the nine are a matter of external obedience and devotion, whereas this last one is a matter of the heart. If we are faithful to practically obey the first nine then the reward is that our heart is changed to suit.
Choice is expected before Change.
A lot us expect that we can only make the correct choices when our hearts are in the right place. We want change to come before choice. There is an element of truth in this; in that if we allow God to change our hearts and give us a righteous spirit, then we will naturally make the correct choices.
Practically speaking however, I believe God still expects us to make correct decisions despite the feelings and desires of our heart. Its like the classic question of the chicken and the egg. Which comes first: Practical Choices or a Changed Heart?
The reality is that it is a cycle; in that when we make the correct choices, our hearts begin to change, which give us greater ability to make better choices etc. Have you been longing for a changed heart because you are unwilling to make some simple choices?