Josh WannerDevotions

A long time ago, when I was going through a very dark period in my life, one of my non-Christian friends was aware of how I was struggling with my faith. That person approached me and said, “If you want to start living more like a Christian, you probably shouldn’t hang around with me.” In my pride I thought, “No one decides for me who I hang around with and who I don’t.”

Now I look back at that day and realize my life had been at a crossroads. My future could have gone in two possible directions. Unfortunately, I chose the wrong path. I chose to continue in that relationship, and as a result of that one bad choice, more and more bad choices were made, and years of darkness and pain followed.

Praise God that in His mercy, He didn’t give up on me. Despite my arrogance and sin, He reached out to me, called me, restored me, and now has blessed me in so many more ways than I could have ever imagined.

When Joshua was speaking to the people of Israel in Deuteronomy 30:19, he knew they were at a crossroads too. They were entering the Promised Land, and Joshua knew they would be tempted to follow the ways of its current inhabitants. He laid it out to the people when he said, “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live.”

God is giving each of us the same choice today, and it truly is life and death.

Notice that Joshua is not speaking to the Canaanites here; he’s speaking to the people of Israel, God’s people, people who were already chosen by Him and who were already part of His family. In the same way, when we apply these words to today, they are not directed to unbelievers. Unbelievers can’t choose to follow God any more than a dead person can choose to come to life. No, these words are directed to us in the family of God, people who are already chosen by Him and who are already part of His family, people in whom the Holy Spirit has created faith and who trust in Christ for their salvation.

And yet, these words of Joshua are a powerful warning to us in the Church today. We must not forget that we are at a crossroads every day. We can choose to live for God or to live for ourselves. And when we are caught up in the ways of the world and choose to live for ourselves, we have to be ready for the consequences. Joshua continues in verses 17-18, “But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them, I declare to you today, that you shall surely perish.”

Choosing to follow the world, to do the things the world calls us to do, leads to darkness and death. But every day God gives us the power to choose. Choose life.