Choosing God’s Preferences Over Our Own

lookupI asked my wife and kids to give me a list of “Personal Preferences”. Here is what they gave me, in no particular order:

  • CLOTHING
  • HAIR STYLE
  • FAVORITE FOOD
  • TYPE OF CAR/TRANSPORTATION
  • STYLE OF SHOES
  • SCHOOL SUPPLIES
  • FRIENDS
  • SPORTS TEAM/OR TYPE PLAYED
  • MOVIES
  • FAMILY TRADITIONS
  • MUSIC
  • SHOPPING
  • FAVORITE COLOR(S)
  • GAMES
  • FIREPLACE
  • PETS
  • FAMILY NAMES/NICKNAMES
  • ART
  • PRIORITIES
  • VACATIONING
  • BEVERAGES
  • EXERCISE

Theirs is a pretty extensive list but I am sure you can name a few more.

Coming home from church service on Sunday, I began thinking about the practical application of personal preferences. Just as I was driving through an intersection on base, I saw a young Soldier dressed in proper winter workout clothes and armed with a music headset. As he began to run in the opposite direction from which I was driving, I could only muse that he decided within himself (personal preference) that it was a good idea to go for a run at noon on a Sunday.

At the very next intersection, I looked at the cars around me as we were stopped at the red light. I saw a small economy car that was bright red and sporty, an old Chevy truck that was jacked up on large tires, and a van similar to ours. I determined that to a degree necessity drives personal preference but with all the different styles available to Americans today, we can achieve similar results albeit through different personal preferences. Interesting!

Finally, I learned from my daughters that personal preferences also change and time out. For example, my eight year old daughter prefers stuffed Star Wars characters from Build-A-Bear over her toy box full of Barbie dolls.

From a marketing perspective, personal preference can and do drive sales and does so even to the point of setting nationwide trends. As professional marketers watch these trends, advertising is impacted and the next thing you know it is Christmas. Sound familiar? It should, every one of us just experienced these observations in the past few weeks.

Beyond the marketing impact, my mind wondered Godward. But first a few questions popped in my head:

  1. More than a few of us spend time criticizing the personal preference of others because they are just that personal, but why do people have personal preferences?
  2. Does God have personal preferences and if so what do they look like?
  3. Are there any passages of scripture that support God having personal preferences?
  4. Finally, why should God’s personal preferences be of any concern to you and me?

Number 1, we live in a “Don’t judge me” or “You can’t judge me” world. Statements like these support my point about personal preferences. Mine are mine and not yours, so you have no right to judge my preferences especially in relation to your own. At least this is the mindset. Friends, family, or outsiders take issue with our personal preferences, and then we take issue with theirs. Part of our mentality is encouraged by our rights and freedoms as Americans and the rest is probably best chocked up to societal and family norms.

Number 2, the fact is God does have personal preferences and of all beings His personal preferences should be of great interest to all of us. One that comes to mind is highlighted in 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” In this verse we see three personal preferences God has toward all people. The Lord quickly fulfills His promises, He chooses to be patient with us, and He wants all of us to experience eternal life which starts for each of us by asking for forgiveness of our sins.

Number 3, the Bible is full of God’s personal preferences. In fact, His personal preferences are a large theme and for our purposes a clear attribute of His godliness. To demonstrate what I mean, here are a few verses:

Genesis 1:1 – His personal preference to create

Genesis 1:26-27 – His personal preference to create human beings as both male and female

Genesis 3 – His personal preference to kick Adam and Eve out of the Garden due to sin

Genesis 4 – His personal preference to accept Abel’s sacrifice over Cain’s

On and on, the list of God’s personal preferences go, and even here between these passages I skipped many others. Is it possible that we as Americans are so caught up in our own preferences that we have and continue to ignore God’s personal preferences?

footprintsNumber 4, if God is the great “I Am”, the Lord or Lords and King of Kings, the Alpha and Omega, the Prince of Peace, the Great Physician, Our Provider, Author of Salvation, Elohim and much-much more; should we not, at least a little bit be concerned with what His personal preferences might be? At the very least, we get to know the personal preferences of those we are around every day so we can get ahead in life and “make it” through the day. At a minimum a good parent knows their child’s likes and dislikes. On a basic level, a friend knows their friend’s personal preferences. Does not God deserve much more than all of them?

In order to draw this point to a close, let’s look at one more personal preference of God’s. Isaiah 45:22-24, “Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. By myself I have sworn, my mouth has uttered in all integrity a word that will not be revoked: Before me every knee will bow; by me every tongue will swear. They will say of me, ‘In the LORD alone are deliverance and strength.’ All who have raged against him will come to him and be put to shame.”

Does it sound familiar? That is because it is the root of the message that Jesus spoke in Matthew 25, and which is covered again in Romans, Corinthians, Thessalonians, Philippians, and Revelation. It is God’s personal preference that all will stand before Him, and not just stand but kneel, and not just kneel but confess. This is His preference. If He is who says He is, should it not be ours to start now? Should we not make our personal preference to serve the Risen Lord?

What is your personal preference?

Mijikai Mason
Disclaimer: The thoughts and views published on the Veterans to Christ blog are those of Mijikai Mason and in no way are meant to represent the United States Army or the Armed Forces.

Bio: Mijikai Mason is an Ordained Southern Baptist minister and Chaplain in the United States Army. He has been in the Army for 26 years both as an enlisted Soldier and now as an Officer. He has been stationed at various bases in the United States and in United States Army Garrison Schweinfurt, Germany. He holds an undergraduate degree in Religion from the University of Mobile, a Master of Divinity degree from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in Theology and Evangelism and a Master of Arts degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Webster University. Chaplain (MAJ) Mijikai Mason was selected by the Army in 2013, to become a Family Life Chaplain and began his service in this field starting 15 May 2015. He is the Deputy ESC Chaplain and Family Life Chaplain for the 593 Expeditionary Support Command at Joint Base Lewis McCord. He has deployed four times: Desert Storm (1991), Iraq twice (2005-2006; 2007-2008), and Afghanistan (2012-2013). He has a total of 42 months deployed in combat and logistics operations. Mijikai and his wife, Ashley, have been married for 17 years this May and live near Joint Base Lewis McChord, Washington with their four daughters.