We will soon be celebrating the Feast of Pentecost and reflect on the tremendous gift that God has bestowed on us–the priceless guarantee and down payment of eternal life–His very own Holy Spirit.
As it is true with everything in life, we are called upon to choose–even as it relates to God’s Spirit of Life. God only gives us His Spirit after we repent of our sins and believe in Christ’s sacrifice; after we choose to be baptized by one of God’s true ministers, and after the ministry lays hands upon us. Before baptism, God expects of us to show Him through the choice of our obedience that we really want to receive His priceless gift (Acts 5:32). After baptism, we must continue to choose to obey, lest we drift away and lose what has been given to us (Hebrews 2:1; 3:12-19).
Life requires of us to make choices–continuously. Every choice that we make either brings us closer to God’s Kingdom–or makes us drift farther away from it. Sometimes, it may seem difficult, if not impossible, to prioritize correctly our many challenges–especially, if a Godly choice would not harmonize with our human desires and values. We can make right and wrong choices: We can choose to seek God and His righteousness first (Matthew 6:33)–or to concentrate more on the physical things of this life (Matthew 6:19). We can choose to serve God–or “mammon” (Matthew 6:24). We can choose to love God the Father and Jesus Christ more than everything and everyone else–including our own lives–or to love our mates, children, families, friends or business associates more than God (Matthew 10:37; Luke 14:26).
But even though God allows us to choose, He does not want us to choose poorly. In fact, He commands us to choose wisely–for our own good. He tells us in Deuteronomy 30:19-20: “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the LORD your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days…” And God promises blessings to everyone who chooses what pleases Him (Isaiah 56:4-5).
We might think, in a given situation, that choosing against God’s instructions is the right thing to do–but God would never command us to do or not to do something, if there was a better way or even an acceptable alternative. To really believe that God knows best, and to follow His directives–no matter what–is the only sure road to lasting success. There are no shortcuts–and there are no better alternatives to God’s commandments. God instructs us to “keep His statutes and His commandments… that it may go well with you and with your children after you, and that you may prolong your days” (Deuteronomy 4:40). We also read Moses’ words to ancient Israel: “And the LORD commanded us to observe all these statutes, and to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that He might preserve us alive, as it is this day. Then it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to observe all these commandments before the LORD our God, as He has commanded us” (Deuteronomy 6:24-25).
The gate and way which leads to Life is narrow and difficult, and only few find it (Matthew 7:13-14). Many actually think that good is evil, and that evil is good (Isaiah 5:20). They do not choose the fear of God (Proverbs 1:29), but that in which God does not delight (Isaiah 65:12). However, those who find the truth must also obey and practice it (Matthew 7:21-23). Jesus Christ, in the human flesh, refused the evil and chose the good (Isaiah 7:15-16). So did David (Psalm 119:30)–and so must we.
To choose the right and to reject the wrong may require temporary sacrifices and suffering. Moses chose “to suffer affliction with the people of God” (Hebrews 11:25), in order to obey God, “esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward” (same verse).
With God the Father’s and Jesus Christ’s Spirit within us, we have the guarantee that we CAN choose wisely and obey our Maker in everything (compare Philippians 4:13).
And so, we do have the choice! It has always been our choice–and it always will be. Knowing this–let us choose LIFE, so that we and our children may live–FOREVER!