Some choices are harder to make than others
If I asked you to choose between $1 million and a candy bar, you could come up with a decision fairly quickly. If I asked you to choose between $1 million and $2 million, the decision would be a cinch. If I asked you to choose between $1 million and a penny, that ain’t no thing. If I asked you to choose between a penny and a candy bar, no big deal. But what if I asked you to choose between two of your favorite candy bars? You may have to think a little bit harder.
Have you ever stopped to think about how many choices you have to make on a daily basis? If you could estimate how many choices the average person makes per day, what would you say? Five? Ten? One hundred? One thousand? I’d say the higher you go, the closer you get. I mean, just think about it. You have to choose when you wake up, what clothes to wear, whether to brush your teeth or not, whether to use mouthwash, whether to take a shower or a bath, whether to comb your hair or wear a hat; the list goes on and on and you haven’t even gotten out of your house yet.
And then you go to school; you have to choose what desk to sit in, who to talk to, whether to raise your hand because you know the answer or sit there and act stupid like everybody else, whether to tell the teacher your dog ate your homework or whether to tell the truth. And this is just first period. And what about lunch? You have to decide whether to eat the lunch your mom packed or be a bully and eat Little Bobby’s or maybe you didn’t bring your lunch so you have to decide whether you want square pizza or hard hamburgers and then you have to choose your sides: French fries, corn, lima beans and broccoli. And you’re only halfway done with school.
The choices are endless. You make thousands of decisions every day whether you realize it or not.
And sometimes you make choices about choices. For instance, you might have two tests next week and you need to decide which one to study for first. Well, after weighing the choices, you decide not to decide until the night before the test. Well, regardless of how many choices you make, each choice affects you in some way or another.
Big choices or little choices? No matter how big or small, each choice affects you in some way. You say, well, it doesn’t really matter that much what I choose to eat for lunch. I mean, that’s no big deal. Well, it is if you’re lactose intolerant and you can’t have dairy products. And you choose the square pizza, which has cheese on it, a dairy product. Now, that’s gonna affect you and chances are it won’t be pretty. I mean, the dairy’s gonna want to come out as soon as possible, one way or another.
Now, the Bible is not oblivious to the fact that you have to make choices. The Bible makes it very clear that you’ve got some choices to make and that the decisions you make will very much affect you.
Deuteronomy 30:19: “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.”
Wow, that sounds like one of the decisions I talked about earlier. Choosing between life and death is like choosing between $1 million and a candy bar. I mean, the decision is obvious, right? As obvious as it might seem, I’m telling you some of you have been making the wrong choice. Now, tell me something. I go up to a smoker and give him this choice: life or death. He tells me he chooses life, yet by his very action, he’s killing himself.
You see, the choices you make every day will affect you. Now, how do I choose life?
First things first. Deuteronomy 30:19b-20: “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.”
There you have it: To choose life, you’ve got to choose God. Jesus said in John 10:10, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” So, in choosing Jesus, not only will you have life, but you will have life that is excessive, overflowing, surplus, over and above, more than enough, profuse, extraordinary, above the ordinary, more than sufficient. Choose life. Choose Christ.
Now, that’s not all. Choosing life is a daily decision. You’ve gotta make the choice every day. You say, “I’ve already chosen Christ; now how else do I choose life?”
Proverbs 18:21: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”
There it is. Your words control your life. James wrote that the tongue is like the rudder on a ship.
James 3:4, 5: “Look also at ships: Although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. Even so, the tongue is a little member and boasts great things.” It steers the course of your life. You’ve heard it said, “Life is what you make it.” That’s true. You make your life, or your death, by what you say.
If your life is choice, then you better be speaking words full of life. If your choice is life and you’re speaking words full of death, you’re killing yourself. How are you any different than the smoker? You say, “I choose life,” yet the very next day you complain about your horrible, pathetic existence of a life and wish you were dead all because you made an F on your spelling test. What was your choice again? Life? It doesn’t seem like it.
When I was younger, I was a good little boy and never did anything wrong. No, I said a bad word once or twice. But there was one time when my mom heard me. She grabbed me, took me in the bathroom and almost made me swallow a whole bar of soap. I never said that word again.
Now, some of us need our mouths washed out with soap. We need to watch what we say because we might be steering our ship down the great Abyss, past the point of no return. If you want to know what choice you’ve made, listen to yourself speak. You need to realize that you have what you say. The life you live now is a result of your words back then. So, choose life — choose the abundant life.
Pastor Ron Carter of Topaz Community Open Bible Church is a member of the Carson Valley Ministers’ Association.