Life… it’s all about choices. What to study, where to work, who to marry, what to buy, where to live, what to think, what to do…The list is endless of the possible choices we have to make each and every day of our lives.
The idea of choice is not new. Long before the world was every created, choices were already being made. God always has been. He has always existed (it’s a thought we will never comprehend this side of Heaven.) God, the Great I Am, is the “author” of choices. He’s made trillions of choices – likely even more. Perhaps His like of having choices is why He gave us the option of choosing, ourselves.
My point is this: God chose to create the universe we acknowledge and live in. In that universe, He chose Earth as a place to populate with life. When He chose to populate the Earth, He knew that if given a choice, we humans would choose to sin rather than to abstain from temptations. Even knowing we would sin, God still chose to go ahead with His plan of creating humans on Earth with free-will. Knowing that the ONLY way that we and Himself could co-exist would be through the death of His own beloved Son, He STILL chose to carry on with His plan. How special do you feel now?
God made a choice. He created the world. He created us and all life. AND, He gave us as humans free will. That means we are allowed to make choices. He will not force us to do anything. God is a gentleman – He will not force us to do anything. And we, in turn, just like He expected, did sin. Because of our sin, God chose to follow through on His second step…Jesus.
God sent His Son, Jesus, to Earth, not as a warrior and might conqueror, but as a humble baby. Only by living as a human, growing as a human and suffering as a human, could He truly relate to our needs. Keep in mind that while Jesus WAS God’s Son on this Earth, He also experienced everything we go through as we grow and learn. He was a baby. He had to learn to crawl, walk, talk, eat…As a child, He had to learn all that other children were learning. He went to school, He played games, He had questions, He was disciplined and trained just like every other child at the time.
While Jesus was alive on the Earth in human form, He also was faced with choices – some that I wouldn’t want to face myself. And while He made many of the choices you and I make, one decision He was asked to make, made the difference. (Jesus communed with God the Father on an ongoing basis. Jesus knew His purpose – His sole purpose on Earth was to die on the cross. But would He follow through on His purpose?)
As the time drew closer to the time of His suffering, Jesus became sad. He even prayed for God to remove the cup of suffering and sorrow that He was asked to bear. He basically said, “God, I don’t want to do this!” Doesn’t sound so different from you or I, does it? BUT, He chose to obey God because Jesus knew the victory that would follow as the outcome. Jesus chose to walk the road of suffering. He chose to stand silent before His accusers. He chose to bear the lashes of the whip. He chose to bear the thorns in His crown. He chose to carry His cross. He chose to have His hands and His feet spiked to the cross. He chose to bear the humiliation of the mocking crowd. He chose not to ask God to save Him from the cross. And because of who He was, He could have called on the Angels to come and rescue Him – He could have gotten off the cross IF He had chosen to. And God chose to turn His back on His only Son for that brief moment. Those two choices – where Jesus went through with being crucified, and when God turned His face away from His Son, changed history AND eternity.
People often ask, “why does God let this/that happen?” My response is always the same. While God does have a good and perfect will for everyone’s life, He will not force His WILL onto any human being. He has a plan – a perfect plan – but it is our choice whether of not to follow that plan. He will only exist where He is welcome.
When somebody hurts us, we can either choose to return the act that was done to us, or we can choose to let it go. If somebody slaps you on the face, the natural tendency is to hit that person back. Is that the right thing to do? What choice would Jesus make? What do you think the outcome would be if you struck back? What if your just turned and walked away? What do you think Jesus would do?
Two thousand years ago, Jesus DID make THAT decision. Two thousand years ago, we struck Him. We beat Him so that He was unrecognizable as a human being. We hung Him up to die and then blasted, “so what are You gonna do about it?!” His response was and is clearn: Luke 23:34 – “Father, forgive them.” Even to the one thief who hung dying beside Him was offered forgiveness when he asked Jesus to remember him once Jesus entered His Kingdom (Luke 23:40-43). Jesus assured that thief that he would enter into God’s kingdom that very day.
Jesus chose to fogive us, even when WE were the ones who killed Him.
Because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we are left with a choice that determines our eternal home. At some point in our life, we will be forced to choose our path or God’s path. Jesus is a gentleman – while He would like that all who live serve Him and know Him, He will not force us to do either.
Maybe you’ve never had to make that choice before. Maybe you didn’t even know you had a choice, let alone that one. Now you know. And now that you know, you must choose.
If you choose to follow Jesus, the road will not be easy. He will ask things of you. He will ask that you refrain from drinking and doing drugs. He will ask you to abstain from sexual conduct except between a married man and wife. He will ask you to serve Him only. He will ask that you not watch, say or do certain things. Your time here on Earth will not be without suffering. If we choose to follow Jesus, we must be ready to suffer – Mat. 16:24, Luke 9:23.
At the end of our suffering, when our time on Earth is done, what will wait for us? John 14:2 tells us that Jesus is preparing a place for us. And for those of us who are faithful to God, there will be a place of eternal life…light…joy, peace, love, celebration…all these and more, will be our reward, our inheritance. He will say we are blessed, good and faithful and will welcome us home. (Mat. 25:31-46)
Now, if we choose to follow our own path Matthew 7:13-14, to go where we want, do what we want, say what we want…if we indulge ourselves and do everything we want to do, our time here may SEEM more enjoyable while we are having our fun. People may life us, we’ll have lots of fun, be irresponsible and so on. But what of the final outcome? If you overdose on drugs, you can die. If you are sexually promiscuous, you can get AIDS and die. IF you live a homosexual lifestyle, you can get AIDS and die. If you smoke, you can get cancer and die. If you choose to hurt somebody, they or somebody else in turn, could kill you. And these are only the earthly outcomes!
When we choose to follow our own will as opposed to God’s will, we are in fact fulfilling the devil’s will – Math 6:24. If you are not following God’s will, then you are following Satan’s will. By following Satan’s will, you are saying NO to God’s will.
And God’s Word is clear on saying no to God. John 3:3, John 3:16-18. Accepting God’s Son means life, forever. Rejecting God’s Son means death, forever. And to get an idea of how long forever is, imagine a time bird taking in its beak, one grain of sand from the entire amount of dirt on the Earth and flying from Earth to Pluto. It has to fly back to Earth for EVERY grain of sand until the Earth not longer exists, taking one grain of sand at a time. It takes the bird one year to get from Earth to Pluto and then takes one year to get back to the earth for a second grain. THAT is just the BEGINNING of eternity! Where will you spend eternity?
On September 13, 1982 I made a decision. I chose to give my life to Jesus. I was only 13 at the time, but I remember it like it just happened today. God was calling me then. God is calling you right now. You are never too young, never too old to make the choice to follow Jesus.
God is asking you to make a choice right now. Will you choose Jesus, to follow Him, to love Him and serve Him, putting up with the sufferings now, knowing your eternal home is in Heaven, or will you choose to reject God’s Son, go your own way, do your own thing, not giving a hoot about God’s will, and follow Satan’s path for an eternal home in the Lake of Fire?
Suffer now, rejoice and party later, eternally
Rejoice and party now, suffer later, eternally.
Life eternal or Eternal burn?
Footnotes: what/who guides your choices? What sways you from one thing to another? What do you base your decision-making on?
1. Creation and the fall of man: Gen 1:1-2:3, Gen 2:25-3:24
2. The birth of Jesus: Math. 1:18-2:23, Luke 1:26-80, Luke 2:1-39
3. Temptations of Jesus: Mark 1:9-13, Luke 4:1-13
4. Garden of Gethsemane: Matthew 26:36-42
5. Forsaken on the cross: Matthew 27:45-46
6. Turn the other check: Matthew 5:39, Luke 6:29
7. Do unto others: Luke 6:31
8. Beating and death of Jesus: John 18:28-19:24
9. Forgiven: Luke 23:34, 39-43
10. Choosing Jesus or choosing self: John 3:16, Matthew 6:24
11. Heaven’s reward: John 14:2, Matthew 25: 31-46
12. Hell’s suffering: Matthew 25:41-46, Rev 14:10-11