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“I 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, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him” (Deuteronomy 30:19,20).

WE ARE ABLE TO CHOOSE OUR DESTINY. If the alternatives are obedience to God (which leads ultimately to life) and disobedience (which leads to death), it is possible to “choose life,” as Moses urged Israel to do. And God, who gave us the power to choose, is always hoping that life is the choice we will make. As He instructed Ezekiel, “Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?” (Ezekiel 33:11).

When we come to the New Testament, we hear Jesus exhorting people to make the same choice: to reject death and choose life. But since the road to life requires sacrifice, many people — indeed, most people — turn away from it, preferring instead a course of less resistance. “Enter by the narrow gate,” He said, “for the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matthew 7:13,14).

Even in the little decisions of daily life, the power of choice is amazing. But those who know its power know that choosing is more than simply having a preference — it requires action. And certainly with regard to God, we haven’t “chosen life” if we’re not doing the kinds of things Moses commanded Israel to do in Deuteronomy 30: “loving the Lord your God, obeying His voice and holding fast to him” (v.20). Choosing life is not a passive experience.

I have lived for threescore and ten years in this world, and among the things I am most sure of is this: when you come down to the end, the thing that will break your heart will not be the choices you made; it will be the choices you didn’t make. And if we spend eternity away from God, never having chosen to accept His forgiveness in Christ, the worst part of it will be knowing that we didn’t have to end up this way. We could have chosen life.

“When you have to make a choice and don’t make it, that is in itself a choice” (William James).

Gary Henry — +

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