“This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.” ~ Deut. 30:19
Ok, so it’s the beginning of a New Year and that means we’re talking about fitness – Foundational Fitness, to be exact. I’m not one who typically tends to make resolutions, because frankly they just don’t work for me. But I do think it is important to reflect, assess and adjust. In order to continue Choosing Life, I have to reflect on where I’ve been and where I am. I have to assess the situation by basically looking for cracks or other flaws in my foundation. And finally, I have to make any adjustments, corrections or improvements that may be needed to move forward.
Of course, my foundation is my relationship with Jesus. How can I really choose life, if I’m not giving the appropriate attention the life giver? I believe it is important for every believer to take time periodically to really focus on their relationship with the Lord. How often is up to the individual, and hopefully allowance is made for the Holy Spirit, but it should be done.
When we take the opportunity to examine our own hearts, to examine our prayer time, praise time, worship time, quiet time, etc., and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to us areas we could or should improve in, He will. When we really observe the movies, books and music we keep in our homes, are they all ok for us, or do a few of them give us a check in our spirit? If we do get that check in our spirit, what do we do about it? Do we ignore it and hope it will go away (because eventually it will) or do we take action and remove it from our presence?
This is not about a list of rules. We each have things we struggle with and things we don’t. I will not attempt to try to make someone do this or stop that, because that’s not my job. That is the job of the Holy Spirit and if we are in tune with Him, He will convict us. And if we’re willing, He’ll also help us to do or stop doing whatever it is we’re feeling conviction for. But only if we’re willing.
A moment ago, I mentioned that if we ignore a check in our spirit, it will eventually stop and go away. That’s what it is to harden our hearts to the Lord. And it is choosing death. Jesus gave us the gift of the Holy Spirit when He joined the Father in heaven to help us live this Christian life. He knew we were still in the world, even if we were no longer of the world, and He in His good grace and mercy, provided us with a Helper while we are yet here. But it is up to us to accept the help our Helper can give us.
The condition of our foundation, or spiritual life, is completely in our control. We can choose to make any changes that are necessary to make sure that it’s sound. If our prayer life is shallow, we can choose to go deeper. If our quiet time is not what it should be, we can choose to make the necessary changes to improve it. If our service to God and to our neighbors is lacking, we can choose to make it increase. All of these things are how we choose life in our spiritual lives.
That said, I think it is important to acknowledge that there are times that our spiritual life may be weak because of a specific situation we are in. For example, when I first had my baby, I simply was not concerned with the quality of my prayer time or quiet time or service, etc. Nope, I was too busy trying to learn how to be a mother and take care of this newborn, recover from surgery and frankly, I was just doggone tired! But I knew that was a specific situation, for a specific time, and God’s grace and understanding covered me. However, those situations are only for a time, and then, when the time has passed, we should be mindful to get back into our spiritual routines. Again, that is choosing life in our spiritual life.
It really is in our best interest to make sure our foundation is secure. In Matthew, Jesus talks about the importance of making sure our foundation is built out of something that will last, such as stone, so that when the storms come, we are anchored and secure and can weather the storm. To the contrary, if our foundation is built out of temporary things, such as sand, the storms that inevitably come will destroy us.
In this theme, imagine a sand castle. I’ve seen some pretty impressive ones, built several feet high, with great detail and structure, but in the end they’re still just a pile of sand, which is evident if wind, water or another force comes into contact with it. On the other hand, think of a real castle. I’ve seen some pretty impressive real castles too. I had the privilege of living in England for a couple of years and never failed to experience a sense of awe when I saw these amazing, massive structures that had been around for several hundreds of years! Which one of these castles would you rather live in?
It’s the same with our spiritual foundation. I want to make sure my foundation is strong, built on the Stone that is Jesus and know that through Him I have the strength to come through any storm. That is choosing life!
“Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.” ~ Matt. 7:24-27