"I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that...[the Lord] will give you many years."
- Deuteronomy 30:19,20 NIV
I was attending the funeral of one of my relatives recently, when one of my dearest aunts approached me and took me aside. As she began telling me how she wanted me to have one of her most precious possessions after she was gone, I became puzzled and asked her, "Are you going somewhere?" She shrugged her shoulders and said solemnly, "You never know." She had been surrounded by so much death in recent months, and it had penetrated and poisoned her heart. I knew this woman to be a woman of faith, so her apparent lack of it took me by surprise. Later, as I pondered these things, the Lord reminded me of a passage in Isaiah that says: "The Lord has given me a strong warning not to think like everyone else does. He said...'Don't live in dread of what frightens them.'" (Isaiah 8:11,12 NLT) Every time that I have been around people who have resigned themselves to disease, disaster, and death, the Lord has issued me warnings like this one. He knows that if I'm not careful, I'll succumb to the same fears that plague most of mankind. And He's aware that if I surrender to these fears, I won't be much use to Him or anyone else.
Before I began devoting myself to the study of God's Word, I had no idea that I had the power to influence the quality and length of my life. I had resigned myself to my fate, whatever that might be. The saddest part of all this is that I was a Christian at the time. But as Jesus said, because I was ignorant of the Scriptures and the power of God, I was "in error." (Matthew 22:29 NIV) If this describes you, I have some good news for you today. The Bible says that how you live your life can help determine how long, blessed, and prosperous it will be. Scripture says: "Do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity." (Proverbs 3:1-2 NIV) Think about it. God is telling us here that if we will plant His principles in our hearts, and apply them to our lives, we can actually extend the length of our lives. From cover to cover, the Bible tells us that we have a say in how long we live. One of the best things we can do on a continual basis, is to pray for God's wisdom--not just in weightier matters, but in seemingly trivial ones, too. And this is where a lot of believers miss it. They forget that life is made up of a series of decisions and choices, and each one can impact our lives for evil or for good. That's why God tells us in His Word, "Wisdom will multiply your days and add years to your life." (Proverbs 9:11 NLT)
If you are a follower of Christ, then you have a God-given purpose and destiny. But you also have some formidable enemies--Satan and his dark forces--who are committed to robbing you of the good plans that God has in store for you. You may have surrendered your life to the Lord, but have you cooperated with Him to renew your mind? If not, you will be an easy target for the devil and his cohorts. Scripture says: "Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect." (Romans 12:2 NLT) In order for you to walk in the perfect will of God, and receive all the blessings and opportunities He has in store for you, you must begin to think like Him. Spending regular, concentrated time studying and meditating on His Word will transform your thinking, and help you to align yourself with the Lord's purposes and plans.
God's challenge to His people in years past is ours today: "Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live...and if you love and obey the Lord, you will live long!" (Deuteronomy 30:19,20 NLT)
Prayer: Lord, thank You for giving me the privilege and responsibility of partnering with You in the course of my destiny. Teach me to renew my mind to think like You, instead of the rest of the world. Thank You for helping me to "choose life" daily, as I submit to Your Spirit's leading and walk in Your ways.
- J. M. Farro