Life is not always easy. And let’s be honest, serving God and living a righteous life is not always easy either. Sometimes it can feel like the daily choice to serve Him is just too difficult for our flesh to push through. And sometimes when we’ve strayed from where we know we should be, or we’ve made some bad decisions, it can seem like a mountain too huge to climb to ever get back in a right place with God.
Today I was reading in Deuteronomy 30 where God is speaking to the Israelites through Moses. He is telling them that if they choose to turn to Him again, He will accept them and bless them and prosper them. Then He goes on to say…
“11 NOW WHAT I AM COMMANDING YOU TODAY IS NOT TOO DIFFICULT FOR YOU OR BEYOND YOUR REACH. 12 It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?”13 Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?”14 NO, THE WORD IS VERY NEAR YOU; IT IS IN YOUR MOUTH AND IN YOUR HEART SO YOU MAY OBEY IT.
15 See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction.16 For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, 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.
17 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,18 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.
19 This day I call the heavens and the 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…”
What a revelation! So often we make serving God so difficult! We complain about how hard it is and what a chore it is and how many things we have to give up or change or do for Him! We beg and beg for Him to help us to serve Him…we pray and pray for Him to help us to obey Him. And yet, right here, He makes it very clear that if we have put His word in our hearts and our mouths then the ability to obey and love Him is already in us…we just have to choose!!!
Now, I know that choosing every day, on an on-going basis, as we face challenges and discouragement and attack from the enemy is not necessarily easy. I’m not saying that if we feel overwhelmed or weak in our attempt to live for Him that we are somehow just not good enough. Goodness knows I do not always feel strong. But I think what He is getting at is that when we look at the two options…life and prosperity in complete surrender to Him, or death and loss in doing it our own way…the choice is easy. It’s like if someone stole one of my babies and gave me the option of letting my child die or me taking their place…my love for my child would supersede any sadness or discomfort or pain I would feel at the loss of my own life. It would not be preferable to give up my life. It would not be enjoyable. It would be sad and difficult to face. But the choice…it would be easy because of my love.
It is the same with the Lord. Sometimes we have to make difficult decisions. Often we have to die to ourselves and give up control and our own way…but when we look at the outcome, when we see what the prize is for doing so (His LOVE, His FAVOR, His LIFE) then the decision is not difficult at all.