Choices. We face them every day. We make them every day. Some choices are easy to make. Some choices are more difficult and we need to gather information and think carefully before making the choice. And then there are those choices we wish we did not have to deal with. Some people tend to ignore them with the hope that they will go away.
In the Bible we have the records of the variety of choices God has set before people. These choices came to them in twos. There were no third options. Consider the following examples.
In Gen.2:16-17 God gave Adam a choice : do not eat and live or eat and die. Adam made the wrong choice. He chose to eat and die. Very sadly, Adam never realized how far-reaching the consequences of his choice would be. His choice brought sin and death into the world. (Rom.5:12).
In Deut.30:19-20 Moses said to the nation of Israel, “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, 20 by loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life and the length of your days, that you may live in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.” The choice : life and blessings or death and curse. Very sadly, by their disobedience to God and their idolatries, the Israelites would choose death and the curse.
Psa.1:1-2 says, “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked; Nor stand in the path of sinners; Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! 2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord; And in His law he meditates day and night.” The choice is between walking (conducting your life) in the counsel of the wicked (that is, of this world) or walking in the counsel of God’s word. Those who conduct their lives according to the counsel of this world believe that the counsel of this world is wise, rational, practical, and will lead to success. 1Cor.1:20 says God has made foolish the wisdom of this world. The world’s wisdom may give you temporary success. But in the long-term that success will turn into spiritual and eternal disaster.
Those who conduct their lives according to the word of God believe that the counsel in God’s word is wise, rational, practical, and will lead, ultimately, to true success. God’s counsel is wise because He is omniscient. Prov.3:5 says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And do not lean on your own understanding (wisdom).” Your wisdom is pictured as a broken crutch. If you lean on a broken crutch the results would be disastrous. Trusting in the wisdom of God’s word does not happen miraculously. You have to read, study, and fill your mind with an accurate understanding of God’s word. You must delight in (love) God’s word and meditate upon it. God’s word must be more valuable to you than gold and sweeter than honey. (Psa.19:10).
In Matt.7:24-27 Jesus set before us two foundations (choices) for building your life. The first foundation is Jesus’ words (teachings) and this foundation is compared to a large rock upon which a man can build a house. The second foundation is rejecting Jesus’ teachings and this foundation is compared to a man building his house on sand. When the raging storms of life come, which house will stand : the one built on the rock or the one built on the sand? Ultimately, there is a raging storm coming that every human must face. That storm is the final judgment. How will you fare in the final judgment if you are rejecting Jesus’ teachings? If your life is not built on the rock foundation of Jesus’ teachings, you are headed for the ultimate of crashes in the final judgment.
In Matt.7:13-14 Jesus said, “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14 For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” The choice : (1) the narrow gate that leads to (eternal) life; (2) the broad way that leads to (eternal) destruction. The narrow gate is constricting and afflicting. The word “narrow” (Gk. thlibo) is related to the Greek word thlipsis which has the literal meaning, “the pressure that crushes.” Thlipsis is translated “tribulation” 20 times and “affliction” 20 times in the NT. “Destruction”, the opposite of life, is the lake of fire.
We all hate thlipsis. I know, I do. But Jesus had to endure the life of thlipsis in order to achieve our redemption and bring us salvation and eternal bliss. He endured the ultimate thlipsis when He died on the cross. So the choice you face is simple : salvation in Christ and the life of thlipsis now or the easy life of the broad way and eternal thlipsis in hell.
Jesus said, “In this world you have tribulation (thlipsis), but take courage; I have overcome the world.” (Jn.16:33). Paul wrote, “Through many tribulations (thlipsis) we must enter the kingdom of God.” (Acts 14:22). There is a day coming when all the thlipsis of this life will be brought to an end. Rev.21:4-5 say, “[God] will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain…. Write, for these words are faithful and true.”
Sorry, like Adam, like the Israelites, like the psalmist, like the builders, like the travelers, you do not have a third choice. So choose and choose wisely. Choose with the wisdom of God. Choose life, life in Christ.