15But if you don't want to worship the LORD, then choose right now! Will you worship the same idols your ancestors did? Or since you're living on land that once belonged to the Amorites, maybe you'll worship their gods. I won't. My family and I are going to worship and obey the LORD!
16The people answered:
Choice is extremely important in the Christian life. We choose to accept Jesus as our Savior and Lord, to follow him and become disciples. We choose to resist the evil one, and to ask God's help so we don't have to do it all alone.
The Israelites chose God and promised to obey Him, (Joshua 24:15, 16) but they found that promise hard to live up to.
1"The LORD'S angel went from Gilgal to Bochim and gave the Israelites this message from the LORD: 'I promised your ancestors that I would give this land to their families, and I brought your people here from Egypt. We made an agreement that I promised never to break, 2and you promised not to make any peace treaties with the other nations that live in the land. Besides that, you agreed to tear down the altars where they sacrifice to their idols. But you didn't keep your promise.
3And so, I'll stop helping you defeat your enemies. Instead, they will be there to trap you into worshiping their idols.'"
- Judges 2:1-3
Here are seven principles of choice that can help you choose to follow God and carry out your choice until the end.
Jesus taught this in various parables, including the parable of the sower (Matthew 13:1-9). Paul gave the classic statement:
You cannot fool God, so don't make a fool of yourself! You will harvest what you plant. - Galatians 6:7
God takes small things, like our faith and our choices, and makes big things out of them.
31Jesus told them another story: The kingdom of heaven is like what happens when a farmer plants a mustard seed in a field. 32Although it is the smallest of all seeds, it grows larger than any garden plant and becomes a tree. Birds even come and nest on its branches.
-- Matthew 13:31, 32
Other people are sowing seeds that have an impact on your life, and the enemy of our souls is sowing seeds. But Jesus is faithful to watch and carry out His purposes in the end.
24Jesus then told them this story:
The kingdom of heaven is like what happened when a farmer scattered good seed in a field. 25But while everyone was sleeping, an enemy came and scattered weed seeds in the field and then left.
26When the plants came up and began to ripen, the farmer's servants could see the weeds. 27The servants came and asked, "Sir, didn't you scatter good seed in your field? Where did these weeds come from?"
28"An enemy did this," he replied.
His servants then asked, "Do you want us to go out and pull up the weeds?"
29"No!" he answered. "You might also pull up the wheat. 30Leave the weeds alone until harvest time. Then I'll tell my workers to gather the weeds and tie them up and burn them. But I'll have them store the wheat in my barn."
- Matthew 13:24-30
God promises wisdom to those who ask, and gives it generously (James 1:5). He gave wisdom to Solomon, but while Solomon was able to speak wise sayings and to issue wise judgments to his people, He did not always behave wisely himself. The record of Solomon's life shows that we must choose to use the gifts that God gives us.
"A few seeds make a small harvest, but a lot of seeds make a big harvest."
-- 2 Corinthians 9:6
Those who must decide who is a false prophet and who is a true one, have to make a risky choice (Matthew 24:14-30). Elijah had to make a very risky choice on Mt. Carmel (1 Kings 18).
But choosing not to choose is also risky. We must step out and make a choice!
The results of your choice may not be apparent as soon as you make it. You may need to wait to see the results.
God will bless you, if you don't give up when your faith is being tested. He will reward you with a glorious life, just as he rewards everyone who loves him.
- James 1:12
God's promises are often conditioned on obedience to his commands. This is because God's commands are good, and show us a good way to live.
25You people of Israel accuse me of being unfair! But listen I'm not unfair; you are! 26If good people start doing evil, they must be put to death, because they have sinned. 27And if wicked people start doing right, they will save themselves from punishment. 28They will think about what they've done and stop sinning, and so they won't be put to death. 29But you still say that I am unfair. You are the ones who have done wrong and are unfair! - Ezekiel 18:25-29
Jesus illustrated this principle in his reaction to the woman at Simon's feast (Luke 7:36-50). Those who forgive much, love much. God offers his forgiveness to sinners.
"But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us." -- Romans 5:8 (NRSV)
Grace is offered while we are still sinners. We can break the chain of reaping and sowing where we or our parents have sown evil. God's grace will break the chain and bring forgiveness and love.
"Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." - 1 Timothy 1:15
Scripture quotations marked NRSV are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 buy the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., and are used by permission. All rights reserved.
All other scripture quotations taken from the Contemporary English Version, Copyright © 1995 American Bible Society.
Copyright © 2001, Henry E. Neufeld
Taken from the Participatory Study Series