Many are familiar with Deuteronomy 30:19, where God speaks to the children of Israel.  After reinstating the commandments, God speaks through Moses, setting before the people blessings and cursings, life and death…and tells them to “choose life.”

I was recently randomly reading through one of my son’s books.  It is the, “Survival Handbook in Association with the Royal Marines Commandos.”  Just some light reading.  I came across these words, and they really challenged me:

“The will to survive is often the only factor that determines whether you live or die—regardless of your equipment, training, knowledge, and skills.  When faced with everything that man and nature can throw at you, when there appears to be no hope, you’ll be faced with two choices:  will you accept your situation and wait and see what hand fate deals you, or will you endure the pain and discomfort and fight for your own survival.”

I was listening to a Christian who faced cancer not long ago, who decided to approach treatment from a strategy of faith and health as opposed to traditional means.  He discussed his journey, and how the doctor yelled at him when he opted not to do chemo, which was said would extend his life to 5 years.  Fourteen years later and cancer free, he said that early on in his journey, with all the fears and concerns, someone asked him if he wanted to survive or did he want to live.  He said the question rocked him to his core!  He had been trying to stay alive, but he had not really been trying to live.

Over the past few years, this question of living has turned up in different ways in my life.  And I realize, that sometimes I have really struggled with negativity; I have let circumstances dictate my emotions; I have let others opinions dictate how I feel about myself or about how I feel about what I God speaking to me as opposed to what God thinks about me and what I am doing; and some days…I can even feel a little depressed and oppressed when I look at what is going on in the world around me.  And when I have these struggles (normal ones that we can all probably relate to):

  • I am choose death instead of life.
  • I am leaving my life in the hands of fate and circumstances as opposed to enduring the pain and discomfort with an attitude of fighting for and expecting my own survival.
  • I am surviving instead of thriving.

I know there is a lot of spiritual things we can glean from this verse in Deuteronomy, and many have taught many truths from it, but recently, this verse has cut to the core of my being.  Do I live with a mentality to live and thrive?…no matter my circumstances?

And my answer…I have got a lot to learn.  I am learning.  I WANT to be a thriver and not just a surviver.  I want a mentality to live!

This revelation of life is where so many…even so many Christians…sabotage their faith and their lives.  They deep deep deep down, just don’t feel very valuable.  Some are accomplishing great things, even for God and in His name, but are doing so to feel a sense of purpose and value…as opposed to ministering out of a place of contentment and value.  When we understand God’s unconditional love for us and the value He has placed upon us, no matter what our circumstances may be, we cannot help but thrive!

There is so much more that I can say, but let me finish with one last thought on this verse.  For the children of Israel, the blessings were based upon their ability to keep the Law.  The Old Testament shows mankinds inability to keep the Law, and the New Testsmanet shows us that the “just shall live by faith.”  Yet so many of us, even though we could spout off good theology of God’s love and that we are saved by grace working through faith, still base our personal value on our ability to be good.

I believe the blessings of Deuteronomy are still available to us, but not through our works, but through faith in the power of God’s love and total forgiveness through Jesus Christ.  It is simple.  The blessings are ours because of the work of Jesus!  That’s it!

Now, before anyone wants to challenge me saying that works have a place and need to be taught (they certainly do have a place)…I see those hands…the beauty is, when we get revelation of Jesus and His forgiveness and love and life, we will change.  It is IMPOSSIBLE to believe and receive such love and live for sin.  IMPOSSIBLE.  To the degree we have revelation of this radical love, to that degree we will choose life!  And life will result in life.   In every sphere of our lives.

So I encourage you as I am encouraging myself…do I really want to live?  My answer is YES…and I am asking God to help me walk this out in the day to day!