Deuteronomy 30:19 (NASB)
“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
Next to the gift of Jesus, the most important gift God gave to Man was the gift of choice. This is often referred to as “free will”, but the term “gift of choice” adds an element of clarity. Free will brings to mind doing whatever you want to do. The gift of choice focuses on the fact that before you can do whatever you want to do, you must first make a decision. And in making that decision you not only gain something, but you also give up something. When these factors are taken into account the term “gift of choice” takes on greater meaning and brings Deuteronomy 30:19 into sharper focus.
Ground zero for our choice-making is the soul. We are a three-part being. We are a spirit (1/3 of our being is just like Jesus), we live in a body (our earth-suit which will one day be discarded when we go to be with the Lord) and we have a soul (made up of our mind, will and emotions). The soul is the command center for all decision-making. Our soul is continually saying, “I think, I want, I feel.” When we understand that the soul is sandwiched between the spirit and the body, it is easy to see that the gift of choice is not automatically pulled in the right direction. The soul is continually being pulled in opposite directions. On the spirit side – the part of man that is perfect, just like Jesus – there is the desire to do things God’s way. But on body side (the carnal nature), there is a desire to pull away from the spirit and do things in a carnal way that is directly opposite of God’s way of doing things. Regardless of the direction chosen, life-altering situations are going to be birthed by the choices made. As one well-known minister of the gospel says, “Where the mind goes, the man follows.”
God understood the importance of the gift of choice. And, He understood the pressure that would be present when making a choice. So God gave man some help. He shared two important factors that we should always keep in mind when making a choice. One, there are only two choices – life and death. Choose life and remain on the God-side of things. Or choose death and be positioned with the enemy. There is no “demilitarized zone” where a choice is free from influence from either side. The second factor God gave us is the right answer – choose life!
What is the practical implication this knowledge has in our lives? It clears up the on-going debate of nature vs. nurture that causes much discussion in the scientific community. At the heart of the debate is whether it is the inherited things that we are born with that define our lives or whether it is the environment in which we are raised that has the most influence in our lives? While both have an effect on our lives, the determining factor is what one minister of the gospel calls the “I-Factor.” The I-Factor refers to the choices we make when faced with difficult situations. Many people’s lives are filled with inherited factors and do experience “bad breaks” in life which give them a predisposition for future difficulties. But the predisposition does not create the problem. The problem is produced by the choices they make in dealing with those issues. Those choices were made in their soul. Get control of your soul and you get control of your life.
Deut. 30:19 is the answer for controlling the soul. God shares the choices. You can choose the world’s way of dealing with problems (death) and limp through life, believing you are a victim of everything wrong that has ever been done to you. Or you can choose God’s way of doing things (life) and have the backing of heaven itself to bring to pass the good life God has planned for you. YOU CHOOSE!
Deuteronomy 30:19 (NLT)
19 “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!
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