Josh 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 (KJV)
The Lord gave the nation of Israel rest in the promised land after their conquests. Joshua grew old and desired to give a final admonition to the children of Israel. He gathered together the Elders of the nation, and charged them to make the right choices to serve God not the old pagan idols of the land.
The Bible speaks of the fact that within a few decades after the death of Joshua " …there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel.". In the book of Judges we read that the children of Israel forsook the Lord and followed the pagan Gods of Baal and Ashtaroth. The Bible continues to teach that God was provoked to anger and He judged the nation for their sin (Judg 2:10-13).
Joshua instructed the people that life is filled with choices, and that our choices set in motion the events that form our personal fruitfulness or destruction. The children of Israel fell under the judgmental hand of God because of choices they made to serve pagan Gods. Their national destruction was the result of choices that sowed the crop of sin.
Joshua understood that the basic heart of man was formed to serve God, but he also understood that each and every person must make the choice to serve God.
Rom 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?
Paul also understood that man must serve something in this life. We will either serve sin or righteousness. The question that every human being born on this planet must make is who/what will we serve. Our personal life and freedom is directly connected to our choice of God we serve. There is no true spiritual freedom without service (John 8:31-32).
Matt 6:24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. (KJV)
Another spiritual principle must be made clear we cannot serve two masters. The who or what we choose to sever will become our god and master. We cannot mix our faith with two masters, we will either serve sin or God with love and fear. We must understand that the wages of sin is death, but true freedom and life can only be found in Jesus (Rom 6:23).
Law of Physics
Gal 6:7-8 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. (8) For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. (KJV)
Newton's third law of mechanics states that "with every action there is an equal an opposing reaction.". Its important we understand Newton's basic law has scriptural merit. Simply stated; we reap what we sow, and there are consequences to our actions and choices.
Prov 1:27-29 When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. (28) Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: (29) For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD: (KJV)
We read in this reference that the consequence of choosing not to fear the Lord is the desolation caused in our lives by the things we fear. Each and every day we are confronted with personal choices that may impact our freedom in Christ. For example we incur financial debt, or we engage in drug usage; we select Marriage partners and even make employment choices that set in action a sequence of events that could seriously impact our personal freedom in Christ.
Counting the Cost
Luke 14:26-28 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. (27) And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. (28) For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? (KJV)
Jesus taught us that each and every day we must count the cost that is required of all His disciples. Our salvation in Christ is the free gift of God (Eph 2:8), but our walk with Christ and our spiritual maturity will demand that we be crucified with Him (Rom 6:6).
In life there are no free rides. We will pay for the life-style we select, therefore we should count the cost of our choices. Every life-style demands a price to be paid. For example, a person who experiments with recreational drug usage may find an addiction waiting for them. A drug addict may enjoy the momentary high, but the drug may demand a life filled with addiction and desolation. The same basic spiritual law applies to the affluent business person. The drive for success and gain may destroy his or her family and maybe even their own souls. Lets consider carefully the life-styles we choose, because we will surely pay the price it demands by the choices we make.
Prov 3:1-8 My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: (2) For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee. (3) Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart: (4) So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man. (5) Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. (6) In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. (7) Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. (8) It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones. (KJV)
Our personal discipline will direct our choices. Its important we consider and understand that no true freedom can be lived without self-imposed discipline. The secret to a life filled with freedom is a disciplined mind. We read in the book of Proverbs that the person who trusts in the Lord, and does not depend on their own personal understanding (decision making process) will find the Lord directing their paths. Solomon defined the attitudes we need in order to make right spiritual choices.
Consider with me the possibility that our life experiences subtlety write our life scripts, and these life scripts dramatically influence our life choices. From our childhood to our present day encounters reinforce our life scripts. Consider with me the possibility the each and every person wear heart glasses that influence there perception of life and its choices. For example, a child abandoned by a father as a result of divorce has etched on her heart glasses the events, pain, fear, confusion, and rejection associated with the horror of this life event. All through life her heart script written by this traumatic experience influenced her life choices.
So often our life scripts continue to replay in our lives setting in motion our life path steered by our subconscious trauma. How can our paths be directed by God when they suffer the interference of our life scripts? The answer is simple, we must expose our scripts to the Lord, and be transparent with our brothers and sisters in Christ.
James 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. (KJV)
The transparency of small group encounter it vital to our healing. God will direct the paths of those who confess their faults one to another through the intertwined events of our life script. So often, in order to be healed God must bring to light our hidden pain and sin. The directed path of the Lord often leads through the desert of self realization and exposure. How can we be healed without exposing the pain and trauma of our hidden life scripts? God is determined to lead us on His path of healing, and the degree of healing we experience will direct our choices and the consequences of our choices.
John 8:31-32 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; (32) And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (KJV)
John 8:36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. (KJV)
We read that the mission of Jesus Christ is to reveal to us the truth, and the people who know the truth shall walk in true freedom. We known that the truth we experience in Christ is our redemption found in Him, but also the truth we see could be the truth of ourselves void of false perceptions. In order to walk in true freedom we must allow God to direct our paths through the pain of personal healing. Each and every day we must embrace God's directed paths of healing. Let me reiterate a very important principle. Each and every day we all must pay for our freedom. Each morning we arise lets challenge ourselves with this phrase: "Today I must pay for my freedom." Jesus taught us that we must pick up our cross and follow Him each and every day of our lives should we desire to be His disciples (Lk 9:23).
we all must pay for our personal freedom by the choices we make.
We must count the cost of the lifestyles we select, because we will pay for the choices we make. God has set forth a path for us to walk on that leads to freedom and liberty, but His path demands the rigors of self-imposed discipline. We can have any lifestyle we are willing to pay for, but only lifestyles built on Jesus Christ will lead to peace and freedom.