What is the default setting of your life? I’m using the word as it is in the computer world: “What your computer will do if you don’t tell it to do something else.” We all have one, you know. Since Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, everyone born enters the world with the universal default setting of SINNER. But beyond that, there are certain individual traits and tendencies that characterize each of us, and they’re often seen early in life. In the case of Rebekah and Isaac’s twins, Jacob and Esau, it was manifested in the womb. At birth, Jacob, the younger, managed to grab the heel of his brother and latch on to his brother’s first born blessings. And the rest of his life turned out to one of lying, conniving, and cheating...until God got hold of him, literally, in Genesis, chapter thirty-two.
Some have attempted to condense these innate predispositions into four basic temperaments: Choleric, Sanguine, Phlegmatic, and Melancholy--ambitious and leader-like; pleasure-seeking and sociable; relaxed and peaceful; analytical, quiet and pessimistic, respectively. Of course, you and I know it’s much more complex than that. But the point is, people react t differently, and after awhile, you’re able to see a pattern, a default setting, if you will. Some of these traits and tendencies are good and helpful, while others can be harmful to both others and ourselves.
When we purchase a new computer, we all change settings that aren’t practical or pleasing to us, like fonts, Internet browsers, mail programs, and printers, etc. Unfortunately, some are unaware that these can be changed, and settle for a status quo, go-with-the-flow computer experience. But there is something that will trump a default setting. It’s called an override. It cancels an automatic control with a manual one, like preempting the default Times New Roman font with the Bookman Old Style, as I often do.
Guess what? It’s possible to do the same thing in the Christian life, and it can be life changing. Sometimes it can be something as basic as “idling our motor when we want to strip our gears.” Other times, it may be standing for the truth when we would have cowered in a corner before. It can mean resting sweetly in the will of God, when normally we would collapse in tears. Often it’s saying, “No!” to that lustful thought or deed, immoral relationship…or extra helping, when our whole body and mind are saying, “Yes.” These are only a few examples of what the overriding power of the Holy Spirit can do in the life of a believer who refuses to be stuck in a dead-end or damnable default.
“But,” you’re saying, “Who manually controls the override?” Good question. To me, it’s a coordinated effort utilizing my will and God’s omnipotence, acknowledging both 2 Corinthians 8:12 and Philippians 2:13. As my husband says, “If you mean business, God means business.”
I refuse to go through life parroting excuses like, “That’s just the way I am.” I want to say, like Paul, “By the grace of God I am what I am” (1 Cor. 15:10). I want the will of God and the way of God to be my default setting, not just an occasional “override.” When all is said and done, our greatest desire should be Epaphras’ prayer for the Colossian believers, “…that [we] may stand perfect and complete in the will of God” (Col. 4:12.)
Say, child of God, what’s your default setting?