This is a phrase I ran across a few weeks ago, and it’s been swimming in my head ever since. The idea of choosing life is baffling at first thought. What does it mean? Do we even have a choice? I mean, last I checked I was breathing, so I think I’m alive regardless of what I choose. At first glance it seems like a simple command, but it can rapidly become complex and convoluted if we allow ourselves the time to consider what it means to actually choose life.
I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, love the Lord your God, obey him, and remain faithful to him. For he is your life, and he will prolong your days as you live in the land the Lord swore to give to your fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Deut. 30:19-20, CSB).
This passage was Moses’ instructions to God’s people as he prepared to pass the leadership baton to Joshua. Moses recounted how the people had often chosen to worship idols and disobey God, and what the consequences had been and would be if they continued to choose wrongly. In these words he points out that choosing a life that is driven by a love of God would result in good things and fulfilled promises for them and their descendants. The world will always give us the opportunity to choose, this I know. God simply says we should choose life, and here’s what I’m learning that means.
We can choose to allow our circumstances and feelings to determine how we see our life and influence the choices we make, or we can choose a life that God reveals as we put all our faith in him. You really can’t have a little of both, believe me, I’ve tried. Life is in him, death is in sin. Choose him, seek him, and put your faith in him every day.
Choose the life you have today.
I am very goal-oriented and there is not much I find more gratifying than putting a plan into place and working toward accomplishment. The thing is, when I look back on my life I might enjoy remembering the things I did, but I know without doubt I will treasure most the time I spent with those around me. It’s sometimes tempting to long for days past, when the now growing kids were babies or when that extra pudge I now carry wasn’t there. Yesterday is gone, tomorrow is not promised, and the only thing we are sure of is that we have right now, this moment, today. Choosing life means being present in the life we currently live, faithful to honor what God has given us today.
The choice isn’t just about you.
God loves you, and wants to give you life abundantly. He also wants to use each of us to impact those around us. The Israelites, God’s people in the passage above, caused generations to miss out on going into the promised land because they repeatedly disobeyed God. Moses is pointing out their opportunity to do it differently this time, with a much better outcome: the life God always intended them to have.
We live in a world that is sometimes amazing and beautiful and other times cruel. It’s unpredictable. God is not. His love was evident for his people then, and it was evident when he sent Jesus to show us how to love others and ultimately die for us. Because of what Jesus did for us, we now have the opportunity to choose life every day, regardless of how ridiculously we messed up yesterday. It’s simple really. Choose him and choose life.