[Luke 9:23, Deut. 30:1-20 (14-18), and Matt. 4:1-11]
I've made some bad choices in my life before. Heck, I make bad choices most days. However I have learned that making good choices is wiser than making bad ones. Pretty profund huh? Wisdom has taught me to navigate my way through the subsequent actions that follow each choice presented me and over time I have learned to make wiser decisions a larger percentage of the time. This doesn't happen for everyone unfortunately.
I am thankful for God's grace, mercy and love that he doesn't cast me down for forever because of bad choices I make. Instead he allows me learn and develop from the errors of my ways. Maybe you can relate too?
Each day I can choose good, bad, life or death. I am reluctant to share that after all I've been taught, though all the great role models I've had in my life sometimes I still don't "get it," I still make the same mistakes thinking that results will be different. It's a humbling reoccurrence.
I think of this choice of spiritual life and death and I instantly picture the famous scene in The Matrix with Morpheus, Neo and the two pills that he's presented, a blue and a red one. If Neo chooses the blue pill, he will wake up in his bed and forget about everything that happened. If he takes the red one he will see "how far the rabbit whole goes." One single little choice can change a whole outcome and path.
Deut. 30:15-20 says:
15"See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. 16If you obey the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you today, by loving the LORD your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. 17But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them, 18 I declare to you today, that you shall surely perish. You shall not live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to enter and possess. 19I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, 20loving the LORD your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them."
I think too of when Jesus was presented with the choices that were presented him in the desert in Matthew's gospel (Matt. 4:1-11). He was tempted by devil with a choice; one choice that had two outcomes: life or death. I'm sure it was hard for Jesus, but fortunately he choose to not listen to the devil. Christ's choose not give in and, in doing so, choose life by obeying God's commands.
There is plenty of commentary that this scripture sort of begs, but my point is not to get into all that. My point is that to be a Christian, to live the "Christian.Life," means more than to just adhering to right doctrine or about sitting in a pew on Sunday mornings, the Christian.Life is about choices. The choices we make everyday, not what we believe solely in our heart, make a difference. Our Heavenly Father asks us to make choices. Jesus asks us to follow him, whether or not we will "pick up our crosses and follow him." What will you choose?
Will you choose life or death? Duh, I choose life. I wish it always that black and white, but usually the "life" and "death" is hidden somewhere ahead of us consequently in the string of decisions we have chosen.
Death is a natural process in life. In a lot of instances death can mean more life. Deciding whether or not to follow Christ the hearer should note that both outcomes lead to death. However, one choice (obeying Christ) leads to more life and the other (not obeying Christ) leads to more corrosive and destructive living. There is no legacy for those choosing to listen to the temptations of the devil. There's no glory behind what he promises or says. I have learned this firsthand. I have learned from my mistakes and today I choose life. I choose this LIFEstyle years ago, but between then and now I have made plenty of decisions that would tell you different.
Jesus teaches again and again that the gospel is about a death that leads to life. It’s a pattern, a truth, a reality that comes from losing your life and then finding it
(Rob Bell, Love Wins, inspired from the message and word of God).