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Choosing Life

by | Sep 3, 2022 | Decisions, Salvation

“See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. If you obey the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you today, by loving the LORD your God, by walking in His ways, and by keeping His commandments and His statutes and His rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them, I declare to you today, that you shall surely perish. You shall not live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to enter and possess. I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the LORD your God, obeying His voice and holding fast to Him, for He is your life and length of days.”

(Deuteronomy 30:15-20a ESV)

This is a classic description of the mess that we are in as human beings. The choice is simple, isn’t it? Life or death. Love or hate. Loving the Lord, or living as His enemy. Not a hard choice, is it?

And yet somehow, none of us makes the right choice. Every day, in small ways or big, we mess up. We choose death. We tell small lies (or great). We gossip and backbite. We treat others unfairly because we can. We do shady things because “everybody’s doing it.” We fail to control our tempers, and cause pain to people who don’t deserve it. And we excuse all of this by saying, “We’re only human.”

Well, yeah. That’s the problem. We are only human—and “human” in this case means spoiled human, ruined human. “Human” is no longer the way God created us. We have become infected by sin, and we can’t seem to go right anymore—no matter how hard we try. (Ever tried to be perfect for just 24 hours? Yeah. We can’t do it.)

And Moses was right—this leads to death. Death of the body, as we mistreat our bodies and do what we know is bad for them. Death of relationships, as we mistreat other people until we reach their breaking point. Death of the soul, because God is holy, and what is broken, twisted, unholy, and hateful can never survive in His presence.

There is only one way out of this mess, and it has nothing to do with our own efforts. It’s Jesus.

Jesus is God’s answer to the mess we are in. Jesus, who is God Himself, come down to do for us what we could never do for ourselves. Jesus, who gave His own life so that we could have ours back again—healed and forgiven and set free, pulled out of the trap of sin. Jesus, who rose from the dead and lives forever—and who calls us to Himself.

In the end, the choice that matters isn’t ours—it’s God’s. And God’s choice is for you—life, forever, in His family.

Prayer: Dear Father, thank You for choosing me as Yours. Amen.

This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo
Originally published in The Lutheran Hour on August 30, 2022
Used by permission from International Lutheran Laymen’s League, all rights reserved

Reflection Questions:
1. Have you ever tried to be perfect?
2. What happened?
3. How does it make you feel, knowing that Jesus has you covered with His death and resurrection, now and forever?