Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Choosing Life

The slogan, 'choose life', is often used in the context of abortion.  But over the last few months, it has taken on new meaning for me, so much so that I would like to make a plaque with those words and hang it on my wall.  I just might.

(Photo by Stephen Matera)

Back in April when I turned the calendar, there were these words staring me in the face, "You have made known to me the path of life."  Psalm 16:11  At the time, they seemed to mock, yet in my frustration, I sensed God speaking, that He was going to reveal to me personally, the way that would lead to life.  

Later, as I read about Joshua leading Israel to take possession of the land, he challenges them, "Choose you this day, whom you will serve...", and it clicked.  (Josh. 24:15)  My choices each day, determine who I serve:  either life or death, either God's best or my selfishness, gluttony, and pride.    

The choices might seem small and insignificant, like whether to have the doughnut or go without, whether to get the day going or sleep in, whether to push through with my own agenda or change it for others, but each choice leads to a life that overcomes or one that lives in defeat.

It sounds so black and white, and yet, there is no harm in a dessert, sleeping in, or doing something for myself.  The harm comes in the timing of it. There is a time for every activity under heaven, but the time for work is not the time for play, the time for fasting is not the time for a feast. (Eccles. 3:1)

Making the right choice empowers and releases me to freedom.  God has shown me that this "path of life..." is surrender to His terms.  It's not that victory is impossible or unavailable to me.  I'm just not always willing to sacrifice for the goal.  He has laid it out before me, but I must choose it.

It reminds me of a song which always causes me to stop and ponder, "There is power in the name of Jesus, to break every chain, break every chain, break every chain."  (by Jesus Culture)  These chains that enslave me can be broken by choosing the way of life and realizing that I don't have to yield to my desire.    

Yet, I have to be careful.  I don't want to be legalistic, but neither do I want to be so permissive that I become enslaved by my freedoms.  For example, there is nothing inherently wrong with sugar consumption, but for me, for this time in my life, it is death. I know my weakness and I must choose life lest I become its servant.

I am baffled lately with these thoughts from Hebrews where Jesus appeals to His Heavenly Father "with prayers and petitions, with loud cries and tears."  The passage goes on to say, "He was heard because of His reverent submission".  God was well aware of Jesus' pleas, yet still, the Father did not give His Son any shortcuts or easy way out.  In fact, "although He was a Son, He learned obedience from what He suffered..."  Even Jesus, God's own Son made the choice to serve life, while knowing that the road to life was a terrible painful death.  In that choice, Jesus broke off every chain of Satan seeking to destroy Him. (Heb. 5:7-8)

I still have times where I biff badly and have to pay the consequences.  Most assuredly, I have not arrived, nor do I intend to point fingers.  I share this with you only because I am so excited about this freedom I have in Christ, this empowerment He has given to overcome in ways I never thought possible.

"You have made known to me the path of life; you fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand."  Psa. 16:11


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