A good friend of mine developed this "Choose Life" Bible study lesson to use in a middle school chapel service at our school. It's a great lesson on our need for salvation, but also on living the Christian life to the fullest!
Capture the attention of your students for this "Choose Life" Bible study lesson by playing a round of "Would you rather?"
Using Powerpoint, pictures, etc. have students choose -
* be able to fly or read people's minds?
* be blind or be deaf?
* eat skittles or m&ms?
* have a paper cut on your tongue or a booger you can't reach all day?
* live or die?
If each of us were truly honest today, we would all say that we want to live? That’s a no-brainer! "I want to choose life!"
We are all very partial to the oxygen that we breathe and really prefer that our hearts continue to pump blood. So, why would I ask such a dumb question?
I was reading a book a while back and I came across a passage of Scripture in the book of Deuteronomy where God gives the choice to choose life.
Now, first, let me give you a little background on this passage.
In the events leading up to this passage, I will throw a couple of key names out to you. We all remember Moses – burning bush, sent to tell Pharoah to let God’s people go, plagues, leading Israelites out of Egypt, parting of the Red Sea, Ten commandments. We all know Moses.
Israelites – in slavery under Pharoah, led out by Moses, grumbling and complaining. We have heard of the Israelites. Once the Israelites have crossed the Red Sea, they are now on their way to the Promised Land. Because of their disobedience, an entire generation must wander in the desert and die before they would be allowed to cross into the Promised land. For the next 40 years, the Israelites wander around in the desert and wilderness. They wandered, and wandered, and wandered – 40 years. In order to claim the promised land, the people had to cross the Jordan River.
Well, where our story picks up today is with Moses giving a pep talk to the Israelite people. He has led them to the entrance of the Promised Land. It is now time to cross over the Jordan River and claim the land that God had given them. Moses begins his pep talk by telling the Israelites to obey the Lord God and follow His commands.
Moses explains to them the curses for disobedience and the blessings for obedience. He renews the covenant made that God had made saying that He would be their God and they would be His people.
He also reminds them of the miraculous things that God had already done for them. Sounds pretty good so far, right? Obey God, receive blessings. Disobey God, receive the curses. Then, Moses tells them a strange thing. He says that the Lord is giving to them an offer of life or death. Strange? Let’s pick up there and look at this offer to choose life or death.
In Deuteronomy 30:15-20, we read. . .
“See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and the Lord your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess. But if your heart turns away so that you do not hear, and are drawn away, and worship other gods and serve them, I announce to you today that You shall surely perish; you shall not prolong your days in the land which you cross over the Jordan to go and possess. I call heaven and earth, as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.”
He tells them to choose life, that you may live.
Choose life. That you may live. What exactly does that mean?
Well, yeah, who wouldn’t want to do that? But, I think there is a little more to it than just breathing.
What does that look like? Choose life???
I asked the same question.
So, to find my answer, I looked to the Author of Life. It says in Genesis 2:7 that “the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”
If God is the Author of Life, and He is the one telling me to choose life, that I may live, then I think He should be the one that I should ask.
In researching the topic of “life” I found 508 verses found with the word “life” in them. I obviously won’t read all 508 verses. But, we will look at a few verses in which God speaks to us about the topic of life.
In Job 33:4, it says, “The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.”
Okay, we can agree that God is the one that gives me life. But, what does this “life” mean. Let’s look a little further. In 1 John 5:12 says, “He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.”
If we are to “choose life” we need to understand what it means. We all know that in life we have many choices to make. We have to choose what to wear, what to eat for breakfast, what to do this weekend, how we will act in a given situation. Life is full of choices.
Just as the game “would you rather” that we played earlier made you make some kind of choice. This is also what God calls us to do.
Because he loves man so much, He allows them to make a choice about where they will spend eternity. He allows us to choose to spend eternity with Him in Heaven or He allows us to choose to spend eternity in a place called Hell.
Simple as that. We have a choice. It is this choice that He is referring to in Deuteronomy. He has set before us life and death. In His love, He wants each of us to choose life, that we may live in eternity with Him. This is His desire.
It says in 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”
But, again, it is a choice. Do we wish to choose life and live? Or, do we choose to reject God and live a life completely separated from Him for eternity?
So, how do we choose either one?
First, to choose to reject God and live a life completely separated from Him for eternity – the choice is simple. Do nothing. Do not accept His forgiveness and mercy. Do not repent of your sins. Simply, do nothing. Continue to live life as you please. Do whatever you want to please yourself and your flesh.
But, how do we choose life? The Bible is very clear on this subject. It is the theme of the Bible. So, I will let the Bible answer this question.
It says in Proverbs 8:35-36, “For he who finds Me finds life and obtains favor from the Lord. But he who sins against me injures himself; all those who hate Me love death.” So, the key is in finding Him, right?
Let’s look a little further. In John 17:3, it says, “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”
Eternal life – knowing God and knowing Jesus Christ whom was sent by God.
Now, you may say that’s easy. I know who God is. I know who Jesus Christ is. Come on, I go to church! Of course I know who God is and who Jesus is.
True, you may know Who Jesus is. But, the question won’t be asked, “do you know who Jesus is?” The question will be asked, “Do you know Jesus, and does Jesus know you.” Just by going to a Christian school doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going to McDonald’s makes me a French fry.
In Matthew 7:13-14, it says, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction , and many enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
Remember how I told you how one choice is made. It is the choice that is represented by the wide gate and broad road that leads to destruction. This is the choice to do nothing. This is the choice to reject God.
Now, the other path – the small gate and narrow path – is representative of those who choose to accept Christ and follow Him.
Again, it’s a choice. It’s like a fork in the road kind of moment. On one side, you have a nice wide path to walk on. This path is very traveled by many who choose to go this way. On the other side, you have a narrow path. One that is not traveled by many. This path is traveled only by those who choose to follow it.
Jeremiah 21:8 eludes to this when it says, “. . .Thus says the Lord, Behold, I set before you the way of life and the way of death.”
What will be your choice? The wide path that leads to destruction or the narrow path that leads to life?
2000 years ago, Jesus, the Son of God, made a choice. He chose to die on a cross for you and for me. Jesus’ death on the cross was not an accident. He knew that the cross was the only way to bridge the gap between you and God.
My sin and your sin caused there to be a separation from God. But, through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, that separation was bridged.
It wasn’t nails that held Jesus to that Cross. It was the choice of love.
Jesus could have called down ten thousand angels to get Him off that cross and take Him back home to His father. But, the choice of love held Him there. His choice to love me and to love you. Jesus said, “For God so loved the world that He gave (His choice) His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”
You may be asking yourself now – what do I need to do?
First, if you have never made the choice to ask Jesus into your heart, then the first thing to do is realize that you are a sinner. Each of us has broken one of God’s laws. The Bible says that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Every one of us has fallen short. Every one of us has broken God’s commandments.
Secondly, realize that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died on that cross for you.
Thirdly, you must repent of your sin. To repent means to change your direction. Turn away from. Instead of going away from God, go toward Him. Then, receive Christ into your life.
Choose to follow Him and accept Him not only as your Savior but also as your Lord. Your Master. Your Boss.
Being a Christian is not just believing a creed or trying to live by a set of rules. Being a Christian is having Christ come in to live inside of you.
Finally, being a Christian is not something that you just keep to yourself. Proclaim Him publicly and proclaim Him today. We are not guaranteed the next breath in life. He tells us to choose life today. John 11:25 says– “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies.”
But, if you are already a Christian, you may be asking yourself “well, how does this apply to me?” You have already accepted Christ as your Lord and Savior. Great. But, are you living life? Do you "choose life" each and every day? His life?
It says in Colossians 1:10 to “walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.”
Am I living my life in a way that pleases Christ. Life in Christ is a life of abundance, a life of freedom, a life of living! Or, are you just going from day to day just existing . . . living in the mundane . . . not enjoying a full relationship with Christ Jesus?
You may have already accepted Christ as your Lord and Savior. But, maybe life hasn’t quite turned out like you thought it would. Maybe your parents have separated, maybe you have lost a parent, a friend, a sibling.
Maybe you have decided to just go through life and just exist and survive day by day. Let me tell you, you don’t have to live that way. The Bible says in John 10:10 that “the thief comes only to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. But Jesus comes to give you life, and life more abundant.” Choose life - abundant life - a life filled with peace, joy, hope....with Jesus!
Satan’s job is to make you miserable. He wants to steal your happiness and peace, kill your joy and you, and destroy your life. On the other hand, real life doesn’t exist outside of Christ. What side of the comma are you living on? Based on the authority of His Word, from a God who cannot lie -
It is there for the taking, receive it.
Choose life and then live it!
Acts 2:28 says – “You have made known to me the ways of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.”
© Copyright 2009 Joy Thomas