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Joshua 24:15


hoices… Life is full of them.  For instance, many will choose to go to work tomorrow.  Oh, I know it may not seem like a choice, but it truly is.  Some will choose to sleep in, some to rise early.  Some people are faced with more somber choices.  How do I care for a sick or dying loved one?  Will I return to the bottle?  How will I get my next meal?

In a world where I make choices about my life almost as often as I take a breath, it is easy to get wrapped up in the things that I believe will make my life better or more pleasurable and miss the fact that there are others in this world that depend on or are affected by the choices I make.  Some get so overcome with the magnitude or multitude of choices before them that they freeze where they are in life and miss out on all that God has prepared.

It seems to me that God was prepared for this very aspect of our lives.  Christ said that he “came that they may have life and have it abundantly”, for those who would enter in by the “door” and feed in his pasture.   (John 10:10)  Many take this statement by Christ and conclude that “he wants me to be happy”.  While it is ludicrous to believe that Christ receives any joy in the suffering of his children or that his only goal is self-indulged happiness, it is important to understand this “abundant life” to which Christ refers.  Do you believe that Christ had the “abundant life” while he was here on earth?  Is the “abundant life” a thing to be had only in heaven?  The answers you ascribe to these questions will in large part determine how you make decisions while you live on Earth.

When we think of the cross I cannot pretend to know the mind of our savior, knowing his father’s plan and participating in it before time began.  In his prayer “let this cup pass from me”, was this about the pain of death, the pain of those he was leaving behind…knowing he would never see them again on earth?  Was this the ultimate example of overcoming the flesh?  Knowing, likely in great detail, what he was going to face yet all the while taking each deliberate step forward as he prepared himself to live in compliance with his father’s will.  One thing is certain.  Christ had choices to make and in each and every one he illustrated the best one to make.  Each decision staying in lock step with the abundant life he desired for all that follow him.

One of the blessings of being a thinking, reasoning, rational being is the abundance of choices I have before me.  One of the more sobering aspects of being a thinking, reasoning, rational being is the abundance of choices I have before me.  I know that I would like to blame Satan and his influence on the poor choices I make, but in the end I know in my heart that Satan’s only power over me is the power I give him.  He only has influence in my life.  He has no power to force me into one decision or another.   I can thank my Father for that.  Satan’s power is only to tempt. 

Consider the life of Christ and reflect on the choices he made, the one who could have had anything he desired.  How must we change our lives to follow our creator and avoid the consequences of choices that are contrary to abundant life?  The next time you are in that convenience store and that magazine calls to you from the rack, will you succumb to the canvas where man exploits the creation of God or will you rather be broken hearted to see how short sighted those are who see only external allurements?    The next time your brother receives a waterfall of blessing and good fortune, will you wallow in self-pity at your own perceived lack of substance, or will you rejoice, truly in your heart, in the good fortune of your brother.  The next time you see someone outside your close group of friends will you kindly take them into your circle or will you walk on by as did the priest and the Levite in the parable of the Good Samaritan.  When you look around at your brother and sisters in the assembly will you choose to “feel” like an outsider or will you choose to build the best relationships that this world can find in the fellowship of other brothers and sisters in Christ.  The next time you have opportunity to share the good news of the gospel, will you shrink back or with a childlike faith tell others of the abundant life that awaits those that follow Jesus Christ?  Are you in the path of that abundant life?  It is your choice you know.  Do you truly believe that the gospel is good news, that your father loves you, that his son died for you?  What choices do you make in your life once the weight of those facts settle down on your shoulders?

Do you want to know the meaning of life or what Christ’s reference to the abundant life means?  This is simple.  In every choice you make, are you choosing your own glory or the glory of the Father?  If you think about it you will find that the answer to this question is plainly before you.  Has the thought ever occurred to you that the abundance that the Father gives is light years beyond the quality of any glory we could take for ourselves?  If you are honest with yourself you will know the truth about the choices you are making.  If you choose to follow the savior you can begin to learn how much he loves you.  If you choose ignore his direction you will lose even that meager understanding you believe that you currently possess.

Joshua 24:15 ESV  And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.


Steve Turquette