‘We are the choices we make’ says author Patrick Ness in his novel ‘The knife of letting go’.
‘Choose life’ is the appeal from God to all humanity in the words from the Old Testament book, Deuteronomy chapter 30.
On the face of it, most of us would see that statement as a bit of a ‘no-brainer’ considering the alternative, but what does that entreaty mean and how might we respond to it? Jesus spoke on many occasions that the gateway to a fulfilled life is all about priorities. If we make God a priority in how we are living and working then we will most certainly experience life in a very new, a very liberating and a very fulfilling way.
The idea of focusing all our attentions on a particular goal is not an unusual or foreign concept if we want to succeed in something that we see as important to us or to those we love. We understand that progress in anything requires commitment, be it in sport, music, business, academic studies or whatever. This is certainly true in the area of relationships. I wonder then, as to why this reality becomes so challenging to us when we hear it in connection with our relationship with God and his church?
The idea of putting anyone ahead of our own self-interests in this present day and age is most definitely counter cultural and many may find that concept a very troubling one as they contemplate a lack of freedom or restriction in their lives. This is not what God is offering and there is the most wonderful paradox at work in the way God manages things. In a world obsessed by busyness, where so many of us can feel trapped by responsibility and household concerns and so search for pleasure and satisfaction to fill a hole that seems to grow ever deeper within us, what has God to say to us?
In the life of Jesus we see an answer to the eternal questions of, ‘what is the point of life?’ ‘Why am I here?’ ‘Why do I feel an emptiness inside?’ Jesus tells us that it’s all about priorities and what we put first. The life that he speaks of is one of freedom and liberty, of promise and hope and sitting as we do, within such a turbulent, troubled world and nation, his words remain attractive and full of opportunity and possibility.
That is the life of which God speaks and the life that he invites us and welcomes us into.
‘We are the choices we make’ - Choose life – why not?
With the Lord’s blessing
Rev Dave Clark
Vicar of the Benefice of Upper Wensleydale