Joshua 24:15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
This passage of scripture lays out the basic freedom of choice pertaining to all decisions made in our lives. After rehearsing in the ears of the people, God's guidance and wise leadership in contrast with the vanity of serving idols, Joshua then appealed to them to choose wisely. In other words, the evidence being presented, they were now left free to make an intelligent, informed choice. What God does is to lay out in clear unmistakeable terms, the path of righteousness, and the path that leads to destruction, with the inevitable results of choosing either. This method of God's dealing with us must be understood by every member of the human family. Let's read:
Deuteronomy 11:26 Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; 27 A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you this day: 28 And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known.
Deuteronomy 30:19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:
The reason why it's very important for us to understand the issue of freedom of choice is because by it, we ultimately become the arbiters of our own destiny and are therefore fully responsible for the results of our decisions. There is a popular saying that is often repeated after a wrong course of action was pursued by individuals. It says "the devil made me do it". Now while it is true that Satan's kingdom utilizes the principle of coercion, we must also be fully aware that the devil cannot force persons to do evil except as they continually grant him the freedom to do so.
But the more we yield to sin and sinful desires, the more we become the slaves of the devil to do his bidding, and then if no intervention by the Lord Jesus Christ is sought, we become fully possessed by the evil one. This solemn truth is often brought to light in the scriptures, and God desires that we give it due consideration. Let's read:
Romans 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
James 1:13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: 14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
This sacred truth was brought to bear at Calvary, where two thieves were being put to death for crimes against humanity. After reasoning from cause to effect, and seeing the results of his own transgression, one of them made a heartfelt appeal to Jesus, and Christ responded mercifully by granting him the assurance that he would be saved at Jesus' second coming. However, it's worthy of note that in this instance, Christ did not reverse the natural consequences of a wrong course of action, even though He has done this time and time again. The reasoning of the thief on the cross therefore, deserves our utmost attention in the context of the issue of freedom of choice, and it's attendant results. Let's read:
Luke 23:39 And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. 40 But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. 42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.
The genius of the Gospel is that it can take any person at anytime, in the worst of situations, and through the blood of Jesus Christ and the freedom of choice, make that person a candidate for heaven and a member of God's royal family. This is the work that God desires to do in our lives everyday, but we must choose life.
In our lives there are decisions to be made, choices that can affect us positively or negatively, habits to overcome, and sins to avoid. God therefore makes a solemn promise to everyone who chooses Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of their lives, that He will grant us the power to put good choices into effect, and reverse as far as possible the bad ones we may have made in the past. We therefore end with a promise to encourage everyone to choose Christ, in whom is eternal life. Let's read:
John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.
We sincerely hope and pray that from now on, our choices will come down on the side of righteousness instead of unrighteousness, of good instead of evil, of truth instead of error. And if we choose life, God's power is promised on a daily basis to make godly living a reality. May this be our experience for the rest of our lives. "Good night" and God bless!