Choose Life, it's free – but it'll cost

Life is a free gift from God. More than that, it’s His desire for us.

In Deuteronomy 30:19 God has just outlined through Moses the lists of the Blessings for obeying His Law, and the Curses for breaking it. Then comes the clincher – “I call heaven and earth to witness this day against you that I have set before you life and death, the blessings and the curses; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live”

The statement is stunning – it’s our choice.

Heaven or hell is our choice.

Forgiveness or bitterness – our choice.

Ours.

All power in Heaven and Earth is in His hands. He can wipe us from existence and start over. Satan’s biggest gamble paid off. He gambled God wouldn’t wipe out creation because of His Love for us. He gambled God would choose to give us a choice.

Choose Life.

It’s free, but it costs everything. To truly choose Life means to turn away from everything this world offers. Revenge, unrighteous anger, lust. Doesn’t sound so difficult really, except for one thing – we make that system. We build that kingdom one brick at a time through our lives until we open ourselves to Christ and choose Life.

Choose Life

We can’t just forget the old way of thinking. Even Paul wasn’t immune to it. “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” (Romans 7:15) It’s programmed into us by the curse. We battle our old nature daily in every choice we make. Every decision requires us to rebel against the old man. To choose Life requires us to declare war on Satan.

We must declare war on what put us where we are. Kick away the ladder we are standing on. Saw off the tree limb where we are sitting.

The difference is the outcome. By trusting God, the Truth is revealed. The ladder is shown to be an illusion, the tree falls and the branch remains steady.

The cost of Life is persecution. The reward is relationship with God on an intimate level. The world hates God and His People because the Light exposes the darkness in them. As John writes: “the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” (John 1:5) Another translation reads “has not overcome it”. 

Persecution comes in many forms. It can be blatant oppression in some places – threatening of life and limb. In Western societies it is more subtle – loss of status, preference given to people who will compromise their beliefs and many other subtle attacks that undermine our faith or expression of it. The insidious nature of of the persecution means we are often blindsided by the attack until we have been totally disabled by it. We compromise in the name of convenience and a desire to not “rock the boat”, when what we should do is hold fast to our confession, capsizing the boat if necessary.

Choose Life. Live. Resist the persecution and the temptation to compromise

Choose Life that you and your family may live. Let the cost be what it may, the cost is worth the Price Jesus paid.

Choose Life.

Old Problem in Newtown

In the weeks since the tragedy in Newtown I’ve read many things about the “solution” to preventing repeats. Most of it is remarkably similar to what was said after Columbine. Gun control, improved security in schools, better escape access. Now I read someone has even suggested training teachers in the use of firearms.

Terrifyingly stupid.

The Governor of Connecticut said “Evil visited this community today” on the day of the tragedy. That statement has been lost in the following media clamour.

Tighter gun laws won’t prevent another tragedy. If restricting access to firearms alone were the answer then it would be an easy fix. The real problem is not access to guns – although assault rifles have no place in civilian society – rather it is people.

The cry for “freedom” by people outstrips the obvious. The “right” to bear arms in the US constitution was written at a time when a flintlock musket and a sword were the weapons of the day. It was beyond the conception of the Founding Fathers that a man would devise the weapons of today, never mind the crimes that are committed with them.

There was a reason for that. One that is slowly being eroded from Western society today. The men who wrote the Constitution were largely men of Faith. The document cites Biblical laws as it’s foundation. Public Schools had the Bible placed firmly in their midst to provide a moral compass – one missing in those same schools for many years now.

Today’s instant gratification society is outstripped only by the desire for acclaim – the “15 minutes” of fame theory. Morgan Freeman succinctly summed it up after the shooting by pointing out that most people know the names of the perpetrators of these crimes while being oblivious of the names of the victims.

Guns don’t cause the problems. I live in South Africa, a country damaged by decades of violence, where I hear gunfire almost every night as I lie in my home. Guns are easy to come by and gang wars regularly spill onto the streets. But school massacres? In Kindergartens?

A child was killed by a jealous lover a few years ago in Cape Town, and the horror expressed from the gangs was tangible. Guns are not the problem any more than a collapsing house causes an earthquake or a moving tree causes the hurricane.

The issue of Sin and Mankind’s fallen state is never addressed as the cause of tragedies like Newtown. The media hypes up the event and compares previous tragedies to the current one. Our society feeds the fire of a Fallen world with no regard for the consequence, then seeks to blame something else when the monster it created turns on it.

We need collectively to resist this impetus. Take back what the Enemy of our Hearts has taken. We must resist in Christ’s name. The media and society will blame an inanimate object before it takes responsibility for the disaster it has caused.

Newtown was horrific, but ultimately why are we surprised? If it hadn’t been guns, perhaps it would have been knives. Then there would doubtless be calls for knife controls.

Choose Today to Live

Don Francisco’s Facebook Status today came as a reminder to me – quite a stark one – that our outcome is our choice.
 
God told the Children of Israel to choose life or death ” I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19).

Joshua invites the people to choose which god they will serve ” “Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord! And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24: 14-15).

Jesus invites us to choose him and life. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.” (Revelation 3:20-21)

Choice is key in God’s Kingdom. God never wanted to be a dictator – not even a benevolent one. He longs for us to come to Him as children, because He loves us, not forces us.


Jesus chose to save us.  He chose the nails. He chose the Cross. He decided to give up Heaven and die on a Cross for us so we could have a relationship with the Father through His sacrifice.

We need to choose for 2013, and every day in it and beyond, to give ourselves over to God. If we do, He will establish His Covenant in our lives. Bad events may still happen to us – probably will in fact. Possibly more.

So choose.

Choose Life in Christ.