Saturday, April 10, 2010

Choose Life

I was doing really well with my one year Bible reading at first. But then life and my more truly my distractions got in the way. So today I had 12 days of reading to do at one time. While it takes a long time to do, I sometimes enjoy reading in larger chunks because there is a flow to the stories and connections across the books that I sometimes grasp more clearly when I am sitting down for a longer period to read. Of course, when I actually stay on schedule and read daily, I see a lot more connections to my daily life in the readings which is probably more beneficial. Not to mention that when I am reading daily I am sitting before God daily, listening directly to His words that He gave me in the Bible. This blesses me and my life more than I think I realize. So really I should be reading staying on schedule.

What struck me today was the time God spent telling Moses over and over again in Deuteronomy that if we obey God's commands we will be blessed and if we disobey God's commands we will be cursed. It is pretty clear.

See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.

But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.

This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Deuteronomy 30:15-20

Now we live in a world post Christ, post His payment for our sins, so we like to focus on the grace we have received. Truth is we are saved by grace not by works, by the work that Jesus did not our good deeds. But that does not mean that we would not be so much better off today in this world if we loved God, walked in his ways and kept his commands because we would. There is eternal consequences and then there are very real earthly consequences and discipline for our actions and attitudes here on earth. I like to think about God's grace. I like to claim my identity as a child of God. But I really don't like to think about the obedience side of this relationship. Just like my boys love when Mommy is all cuddling and loving, when I calm their fears and care for their needs, I love God when he is taking care of me. Also just like my boys, I am rebellious, I want to do things my way, I want to be in charge. I want to take the easy road and I want things done for me without me having to work or save or delay my gratification. But the same things I say to them about making good choices, walking in God's ways, being obedient, apply to me and my life. When I make good choices, when I use kind words, when I am diligent and hard working, patient and forgiving, my life is blessed.

This doesn't mean that bad things don't happen because they do. Bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people. But I think we ascribe life's struggles as trials instead of God's discipline way more than we probably should. It is so much easier to say "I am suffering persecution for Jesus" than to admit that maybe my life is spiraling out of control because of sin. We so easily see it in others but it is hard to admit to in our own lives, even when we know deep down we probably deserve exactly what we are getting. I think it is time that we start honoring the grace we receive from Jesus by walking in His ways. Not just because it is the right thing, but honestly it is also the best thing for me.

"Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life."

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