The Results of Right Choices;
Read Dt. 30:14-20
"So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants."
There is always a paradox we face in the choices we make in life. This paradox is what we find in the statement of Christ regarding the choice between the easy path and the hard path. The path that offers the least hardship and the most pleasure is a path that ultimately is that path of death. The way that is the most difficult and painful is the one that leads to life. This is affirmed by Christ when he states in Matthew 16:25, "For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it." Therein lies our paradox. Life is found when we choose death, and death is the end of the choice to pursue life.
As Moses challenges the people to make the right choice, he is fully aware of the allure of wrong decisions. Our natural inclination is to choose the path that offers the least resistance. To choose the path that appeals to our sense of happiness and pleasure. This is the appeal of idolatry confronting the Jews. We are often perplexed why the Jews continually fell into the net of idolatry when God had constantly brought salvation and deliverance. What is so appealing about idolatry? The answer lies in our desire for pleasure and happiness rather than our desire for holiness and transformation. Idolatry offered a connection with God that embraced our pleasures and desire for immediate gratification. It externalizes religion to a set of rules without any demand for self-sacrifice and internal change. It is an easy path. However, the end is one of death and judgment.
The way of life, however, confronts us with the challenge of obedience to God's word. It challenges us to give up our independence and self-determination by surrendering to God's plan and purpose for our life. It challenges the need to change, and this is a task that is wrought with difficulty and hardship. It requires us to forsake our desires and pursuits and take up our cross and follow Christ. But in the end, it is the only choice that brings us the life that we ultimately desire.
Life ultimate may be focused on one simple choice. Are we going to surrender to God and walk in obedience to his word, a path that is difficult and filled with temporary hardships? For there is nothing harder than abandoning our desires in the pursuit of God. Or are we going to be drawn away and pursue other gods that offer us personal freedom and happiness? While the idols of the day are not physical idols made of stone or wood, we still have idols in abundance in our culture. We have replaced the idols of stone and wood with the idol of self and pleasure. An idol is what we use to define our identity. Instead of finding our identity in God, in whose image we were created, we seek to find our identity in ourselves, what makes us happy and what our society says gives us fulfillment in life. What we see as defines us is what becomes our idol.
The choice we make in life ultimately become driven by what we desire to be and what we look to define us. When Moses challenges the people to walk in obedience to God, he challenges them to pursue God and his image. Only when we seek to reflect God's image through obedience will we fully discover the meaning and purpose of life.