I once placed a large sign on my refrigerator. In huge letters I reminded myself every time I opened the door that I needed to “choose life”. Seeing that message everyday forced me to consider my food choices. It is easy to understand that food choices affect good health. What is sometimes more difficult to understand is that my heart choices can speak life or death.
What is a heart choice? It is what you believe, and it affects your attitude about everyone and everything that impacts your life. It is whatever motivates your action. It is whether you approach each circumstance as a learning experience or as something to endure. It speaks of who is really in charge of your life—of who is in control of your mind. It speaks life or it speaks death.
Just before his death Moses spoke to the Israelites and instructed them to choose prosperity and life instead of destruction and death. They were poised on the brink of the Promised Land. “Love the Lord your God! Walk in His ways,” Moses pleaded. “Keep His command” (Deuteronomy 30:15)! Moses spoke from his own failure to obey God. He would not see that land flowing with milk and honey. The Lord sets before His children the same command today. Our promised land waits. In fact we can smell its fragrance and its promise, but it is just beyond our reach. “Choose life,” the Lord pleads, “the land is waiting for you to enter and possess it!” But you can’t move forward into your promise without a surrendered heart and mind.
“What I command you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach,” Moses instructed. “The Word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it! Choose life” (Deuteronomy 30:11-14)! The Word of God is alive and active. It is meant to reside within your heart so that you might obey its instruction. But “if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not receive what I have promised you” (Deuteronomy 30:18)! The Lord wishes His children to keep their hearts and minds upon Him. He yearns for each one of us to reach our promised land! But often we don’t consider the fact that the motivations and attitudes of our hearts keep us from what God has promised.
In the very next verse Moses offers another strong reason to choose life—so that others may know His life (Deuteronomy 30:19). Your attitudes affect the Holy Spirit’s ability to work through you and touch the life of another person. When a person feels condemned because of your bad attitude, then the Holy Spirit can't move in freedom and His love can’t be experienced in your life. But if you have a surrendered heart, His love speaks conviction instead of condemnation and life instead of death. Because we are a society where everything revolves around our feelings instead of that of another, selfishness reigns. Christians are meant to live unselfishly. Putting others first, though, is one of the last truths that we take time to consider. However if we grasp this truth and determine to have a good attitude, we surrender to the lordship of Jesus Christ. We live His love, and walk in the freedom of His Spirit. Our surrender to His Lordship reveals that we have chosen blessing instead of curse and life instead of death.
Spiritual death comes without heart and mind surrender. Always listen to His voice instead of your own. Never forget that the Lord is your life, and He has promised you great and wonderful things (Jeremiah 33:3). “Surrender your heart to me,” the Lord imparts. “Allow that surrender to continually renew the attitude of your mind. Choose me. Trade your life for mine. Trade the negative for my blessing. Give up death for my abundant life. You will taste and see and know that I am good. You will enter your promised land to possess it for my purpose.”