A woman holds a cup of coffee while staring out a window in thought.

(Long, long ago, in the days before internet and email, running water and fire, in days when my hair was red and my waist was thin, I wrote an entry in my journal. It felt print-worthy, so I shared it with our church. People resonated with it, so we included it in a book. That was a quarter of a century ago, yet the words still seem to find their mark. It surfaces in magazines, blogs and newsletters. I even came across a version of this piece on a wall calligraphy. Maybe you’ve read it. If not, maybe you will and, who knows, it may find a place in your heart. —Max)  _____________________________________________________________________

It’s quiet. It’s early. My coffee is hot. The sky is still black. The world is still asleep. The day is coming.

In a few moments the day will arrive. It will roar down the track with the rising of the sun. The stillness of the dawn will be exchanged for the noise of the day. The calm of solitude will be replaced by the pounding pace of the human race. The refuge of the early morning will be invaded by decisions to be made and deadlines to be met. For the next twelve hours I will be exposed to the day’s demands. It is now that I must make a choice.

Because of Calvary, I’m free to choose. And so I choose.

I choose love. No occasion justifies hatred; no injustice warrants bitterness. I choose love. Today I will love God and what God loves.

I choose joy. I will invite my God to be the God of circumstance. I will refuse the temptation to be cynical… the tool of the lazy thinker. I will refuse to see people as anything less than human beings, created by God. I will refuse to see any problem as anything less than an opportunity to see God.

I choose peace. I will live forgiven. I will forgive so that I may live.

I choose patience. I will overlook the inconveniences of the world. Instead of cursing the one who takes my place, I’ll invite Him to do so. Rather than complain that the wait is too long, I will thank God for a moment to pray. Instead of clinching my fist at new assignments, I will face them with joy and courage.

I choose kindness. I will be kind to the poor, for they are alone. Kind to the rich, for they are afraid. And kind to the unkind, for such is how God has treated me.

I choose goodness. I will go without a dollar before I take a dishonest one. I will be overlooked before I will boast. I will confess before I will accuse. I choose goodness.

I choose faithfulness. Today I will keep my promises. My debtors will not regret their trust. My associates will not question my word. My wife will not question my love. And my children will never fear that their father will not come home.

I choose gentleness. Nothing is won by force. I choose to be gentle. If I raise my voice, may it be only in praise. If I clench my fist, may it be only in prayer. If I make a demand, may it be only of myself.

I choose self-control. I am a spiritual being. After this body is dead, my spirit will soar. I refuse to let what will rot, rule the eternal. I choose self-control. I will be drunk only by joy. I will be impassioned only by my faith. I will be influenced only by God. I will be taught only by Christ. I choose self-control.

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithful-ness, gentleness, and self-control. To these I commit my day. If I succeed, I will give thanks. If I fail, I will seek His grace. And then, when this day is done, I will place my head on my pillow and rest.

Excerpted from Let the Journey Begin by Max Lucado © Thomas Nelson.
Originally published in When God Whispers Your Name by Max Lucado © Thomas Nelson

61 comments on “It’s a New Day: The Choice is Yours

  1. I see wish i had a printed copy to frame and i would make copy for family and friends.

  2. Incredible, exactly what I needed to read tonight. I am going to read this every morning. This is a great start to every day. Thank you for posting. I read all of your books but I have short term memory loss so I don’t remember where to find things like this that I really enjoy.

  3. So thankful for your God-given gift of words shared with us. Your study Bible is my current companion as I read Proverbs, my book for Monday!

  4. I’ve followed you for years…like back into the 90’s. What you say resonates, but with Transgender and other LGBT support that does not appear to match with Scripture, and you being quiet in this arena….do you know something I don’t or are you afraid to stir the pot like Franklin Graham is not afraid to do?

  5. Thank you for this beautiful and timely message! God bless those who wrote it, those who shared it, those who read it, and those who long to practice it, as I long to!!

  6. Amen! I choose those virtues as well. I thank you Lord that as I seek to follow in your footsteps you make real to me how to apply worthy virtues to my life, to repent when I fall and ask forgiveness which you graciously offer!
    I thank you and Praise you and give you all the Glory for a victorious life in and through you!!!! Amen and Amen!!!,

  7. That, my friends, is the definition of a PERFECT day!!!! I will practice having a perfect day until I no longer can practice having one. I love the mind of Max Lucado! I will go find the book “Let The Journey Begin” and I will find it tomorrow! Thank you my friend, Christmas Carol!!! That was a grrrrreat read!!!!!!!!

  8. I have my fourth graders memorize this each year as part of our study of the fruits of the spirit. Thank you, Max Lucado!

  9. This is the best explanation of the Fruits of the Holy Spirit and how to live them I have ever read! Loved it!!!!

  10. This is my all time favorite devotional. I read it often and have many portions memorized. Thank you for sharing again.

  11. I’ve read this several times, and every time it has been a great blessing. I thank God for inspiring you with these beautiful words based on His Word!
    May God continue using you for His glory.
    Erika Hayes

  12. U r so blessed with the gift of writing! I live everything u write. God bless u some more….& more

  13. Fruits of the spirit can be replenished every day , if you call on the Holy Spirit … Come fill me anew
    Amen

  14. I can’t imagine a better prayer to read often even daily I will copy to read over and over! God Bless you as I needed this so much tonight!!

  15. Thank you most kindly for sharing this. If you don’t mind, my I put this remarkable writing in my two sons-in-law Father’s Day cards? You and your books, writings and sermons have encouraged me to press on in this race to Eternity. My husband went home to be with the Lord 18 years ago, my fiancée went home to be with the Lord also 6.5 years ago. Yet God has blessed me to finish raising my three daughters and now I’m blessed with two sons-in-law and six grandchildren, one is in Heaven with Jesus and his Papa. Yes, my life is very lonely at times but God’s grace is my strength. So, thank you again for your wisdom, compassion, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. In Christ’s love, Pam.

  16. I am A huge fan of MAX LUCADO’S writings/books, this is just kind of person I aim to be, although many times the old ADAM self takes over.Thank you Jesus for all YOUR love and forgiveness.

  17. Of course just before I made my comment on this wonderful text, I was interrupted by unexpected but desired visitors?! I pressed the Devotional in my favourites and has not been back to it until now! Wow! It left my heart pounding and it became an irritating conversation with my visitors because they had other things to talk about, and my mind was mesmerized in the text and I was explaining to them about Max Lucado and his Devotionals, including this particular on ‘It’s a New Day: The Choice is Yours’! Unfortunately, they’re not Christians and they felt offended, and I seemed as if I was waking up from a dream because I always have known that I do not have to mention God to them but I do not know what overcame me!! Well, I am speechless about it – it is full of wisdom and I will spend sometime reading it again and again! Thank you Max!

  18. Hi Max, I am Lina, from Central Borneo Indonesia.
    Wow!!! I am so blessed read this. Thank you so much Max Lucado. Your writing and books blessed me so much. To God all the Glory. God bless you and family.

  19. Thank you for this. I’m sitting, waiting for the say to start. This day where I will bury my 3rd loved one in 15 months. First my son, then my mother and now my father in law. I am having trouble breathing in and out because of the weight on my chest, but you have reminded me that I have a choice. To choose joy, to choose to believe, to just rest in Him.

  20. thank you for what is in your heart,it is the kind of heart I am interested in.God has been so good to me,when I was not worthy.I thank him daily.Thank you,and God bless.

  21. Thank you for this beautiful and encouraging excerpt. I read it during my morning coffee with the sun rising. Perfect timing.

  22. Thank you, I love this more every time I see it. I thank God for you and for your sharing with all of us. God is using you greatly. I am so grateful?

  23. Wow! I want to live everyday with these words in my heart and mind. Thank you for reminding me to except each day, each hour, each minute ,each moment as a gift from God.

  24. This is simply BEAUTIFUL, Max Lucado! It is my desire to have this attitude for my life. To choose the positive, to be grateful, to love as I should is what I seek! Thank you for these wonderful words.

  25. A good place to start. thanks. I have recently purchased a dozen copies of your book “You’ll Get Through This.” I have given it to friends who shortly thereafter found the need to get through something. What a blessing.

  26. Amen Thank you for your wonderful words. They have up lifted me and are sending
    me to work with a different attituude . Thank you Thank you

  27. I love your books Max. The words that God has inspired you to write always hit the spot. Everything I’ve read has encouraged me in one way or another. Thanks Max Lucas.

  28. Very powerful !! My heart is glad to read this and remind me just as it should be . Thank you!!!

  29. So glad I took a moment to read. I chose JOY as my word for the year and this will be added to my ‘collection’ of Joy reading. One paragraph I recognized from Angela Thomas’s book, Choosing Joy.
    Thank you for these words, these gentle and encouraging reminders of how our God wants us to live. Twenty five years after the writing it is needed even more. Life in today’s world gets more difficult each day. The right choices are so important.
    Thank you so much. God bless you.

  30. Outstanding…… God has presented to you the gift for writing what HE wants you to write. I am an avid reader of your writings. I have most of your books and read your devotionals daily. I read something every day that speaks to me. Please keep writing.

  31. Thank you so much…this teaches you in simple terms how to live everyday expressing the fruit of the spirit… God bless you.

  32. Great reading Max. This is my new daily exercise along with walking. The reward will be heavenly. GB

  33. Wonderful wisdom, I pray that I could honestly transform myself to live it completely each day, what joy it would be! The Holy Spirit rests on you & I praise God for all your insight & encouragement.

  34. Thank you once again for timely advice and we read it long ago. It resonates so with my nature, in tune with your written words. <3

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