Choose LIFE

Together with her husband, a friend of mine purchased a franchise business at quite a great expense and opened their first storefront inside of a mall. At the time it seemed like a logical step in keeping them from losing everything they had worked so hard to gain, as there did not appear anything else on the horizon. Now, some years later, the business is sustainable and sometimes perhaps profitable, but they have found out the hard way how much stress, effort, and bone-tiring work it takes to keep it running, and no longer have much time for God.

A Pastor I once knew made the decision to split his time between two congregations in two separate states, miles away from each other. One congregation was doing okay, but post Covid the other one was about to close its doors due to lack of attendance. This pastor prayed, and put out to God what he described as a “fleece” that he believed God answered in a positive way. Two of his adult children at the time were located much closer to the second congregation than they were the first one. It seemed to many like the logical thing to, but the lack of steady and single-minded leadership had a great impact on the first congregation, and both churches suffered as a result.

Even in my own life there was a time when my husband and I, young married and both without jobs at the time, made the decision to take out a substantial loan because we had seen a double rainbow in the sky and took that as a sign from God that we were supposed to go in the direction we had set our hearts on. Seeing the loan as the means to pay for it, we were bound financially for years to come to a dream that did not succeed.

What’s my point with each of these three stories? In each one, those involved followed their heart. We set our hearts and minds on a certain direction that appears right, and then ask God to bless us in our endeavors. The problem with that is, scripture tells us in Jeremiah 17:9 that the heart is deceitful and desperately wicked. It cannot be trusted. Proverbs 14:12 tells us there is a way that seems right, but the end result is death. Death as opposed to life. Not only is this a reference to what happens when we shed our physical bodies if we continue down this wrong path, it’s also a reference to the path itself. The longer we are on that path, the more death we experience in our earthly journeys. God tells us in Deuteronomy 30:15-20 that He has set before us life and death, and encourages us to choose LIFE!

What stands out to you as you read this passage?

15 “See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, and death and adversity; 16 in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, that you may live and multiply, and that the Lord your God may bless you in the land where you are entering to possess it. 17 But if your heart turns away and you will not obey, but are drawn away and worship other gods and serve them, 18 I declare to you today that you shall surely perish. You will not prolong your days in the land where you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess it. 19 I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, 20 by loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life and the length of your days, that you may live in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.”

Deuteronomy 30:15-20

What stands out to me is priority. We’re not just looking for signs that God is on our side, or going with “gut instinct”, but rather we are prioritizing our relationship with Jesus and truly waiting on His response even when it appears time has run out. It is that daily, sometimes moment by moment yieldedness – the YES in our spirits in response to His Spirit – which results in an intimacy that gives us direction, confidence, and the ability to partner with Him in the prayers He is already praying over us and through us.

In case you’re saying “You don’t understand, I just don’t have time”, think of a man who is completely smitten and so in love that he finds himself turning his buddies down yet again to go golfing, take in a game, or hang out with friends at the local sports bar. His friends give him quite a hard time about it too, ribbing him how he never makes time for them anymore. They are right! His wife to be is now his first priority, and rightfully so. Jesus has made YOU His first priority, too. How much different would it be to put Him first in our lives if we intentionally sought after him on a daily basis? How much different would our priorities look if we were as madly in love with Jesus as He is with us? When you love someone, you give them preference. How different would our lives be if we were to bend our will to His rather than expecting Him to bend to ours?

A.W. Tozer once said “To have found God and yet still pursue Him is the soul’s paradox of love”. When we intentionally make God our first priority and we pursue Him with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength, everything else seems to fall into place. The path we walk as a result yields life instead of death.

Choose life, and be blessed.


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