7. Are You Choosing Life: Deuteronomy
Is your love for God directing the way you live? This is the only path to abundant life!
Hear, Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. -Deuteronomy 6:4-5.
In the book of Deuteronomy, Moses poses a weighty decision to the Israelites. They’re about to enter the Promised Land, the land God originally promised to Israel’s forefather, Abraham. Moses first delivers a series of speeches and final instructions to prepare the people to enter the land. He calls the people to be faithful to God, reminding them of how God has always been faithful to them, even when they’ve rebelled in the past. God communicates through Moses that obedience to this calling will lead to blessing while rebellion will lead to destruction and exile from their land.
And then, Moses presents the decision. He says “I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live.”
It can be easy to disregard or push aside areas in our life where we’re aware that we are disobeying God. Don’t we often tell ourselves it’s just not that big a deal? On the contrary, the message of Deuteronomy says choosing disobedience is synonymous with choosing death.
Let’s unpack God’s call to obedience. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might (Deuteronomy 6:5).” In other words, the people’s love for God is not just to be one part of their life; rather, love for God is to be at the very core of who they are! It’s to characterize their thoughts, their emotions, and the way they direct their effort and energy.
Essentially what God is after is that his people’s love for him would inform and direct the way they live. In applying this to ourselves, we might ask, “Is my love for God shaping the way I conduct my sexuality? Is my love for God directing how I act in my relationships? Is it informing my priorities, what I give my time and money to? Is my love for God affecting the things I think about or my internal emotional state? As this book affirms, loving God with our whole heart leads to a life characterized by peace, freedom and joy!
However, in Deuteronomy, Moses says that the Israelites won’t end up choosing life. Instead of loving God and obeying Him, they will turn their backs on Him.
But God will not leave his people hopeless. Moses says that God will one day provide his people with new hearts, hearts that are able to love God and find life!
Like Israel, none of us are able to love God with our whole heart or choose life on our own. The good news is, God has not left us to ourselves. God fulfilled his promise of a new heart by sending his son Jesus to earth. Jesus died for our rebellion, our failure to love God. And then, after rising from the dead, Jesus poured out the power that brings hearts from death to life, that empowers people to love and obey God. Through Christ, God supplies the love he requires. And the avenue through which he does this? Repentance and faith in Jesus.
This dependence does not stop at conversion for followers of Christ. Every step along the way, we receive the power to choose God, to make the choice that leads to life, by depending on Jesus.
RESPOND: What disobedience is stealing your life? Take a moment to go to God for the power to choose him over sin.