Updated: Dec 22, 2021
Any of you like roller coasters? You know, I’m not a real fan of roller coasters, but I do like do like the Cork Screw. Any of you ever ride it? I like it because. . . it lasts about 45 seconds and about the time time I feel my stomach up into my throat and I’m about ready to blow chunks, the ride’s over and I get off and say “Wow, that was a lot of fun” and I get back on and ride it again and again and again.
Roller Coaster like the Ride of Life
You know Roller Coasters are a lot like the Ride of Life. It has its “ups” and it has its “downs”, and it has its twists & it has its turns. And we can choose to SCREAM every time we hit a bump or we can choose to put our hands up and enjoy the ride. It is a choice.
As a matter of fact, someone once said “We’re not born winners and we’re not born losers, but we are born choosers.” And when we make the right choices in life, we become the “Best You Possible”. And that’s what I want to talk to you about today. How to make the right choices so that God can help shape you into becoming the “Best You Possible” so that you enjoy this ride called life and you want to keep riding it again, and again, and again, much like the corkscrew.
Now when I talk about being the ‘Best You Possible’, I’m not talking about being “The Best.” Being ‘The Best’ is unrealistic. It’ll stress you out, freak you out and burn you out. What I’m talking about is being “Your Best” and that’s something we all can do. The problem is we don’t always choose to because we’re insecure, we question ourselves or we don’t try. We think “I’m not good enough”, or “Who would listen to me” or “If people knew the real me. . .”
Let me say this. . . “Cut - It - Out”. Now I want you to get this so repeat after me. “We’re not born winners. We’re not born losers. But!! We are born choosers.” And we have the power to choose how we think about ourselves and we have the power to choose how we react to the situations and circumstances that life throws at us. It is a choice.
Now, I’m not saying that I have it all together or I’ve made all the right choices. I’ve screwed up. I’ve messed up. I’ve got insecurities as much as anyone else in this room. When I was around your age, I hit some bumps or low points on my ride of life that wasn’t so great. I would like to share a story with you so hopefully you will see how God used my choices to help shape me into becoming the “Best Me Possible”. And hopefully, you will see how God wants to use your choices to help shape you into becoming the “Best You Possible”, too.
So what does Bible say about “choices”. In Deuteronomy 30:19, it says "Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!”
In the verses before verse 19, God encourages the Israelites and us to obey His Word and commands for our safety and protection. In verse 19, he says our choice to obey them will lead to life and blessings. If we choose not to obey, it will lead to death and curses.
Now when this verse talks about life and death, it doesn’t mean just a physical life or death. It can also mean a relational, emotional, economical, or spiritual life or death.
For example, if I chose to eat lots of junk foods, drink lots of pop and sit around all day playing video games, would that lead to life or death for me physically? Right! Blessings or curses? Right! It could lead to the curse of diabetes, heart disease or possibly a physical death. But, if I choose to eat my veggies, fruits, lean meats, stay active and workout regularly, that would lead to life and blessing for me physically, right?
If I chose to ignore my wife and my children and do my own thing and abuse them with my words and actions? Would that bring life or death to my family relationally? Right! Blessings or curses? Right. But if I choose to spend time with my wife and kids and love them unconditionally and encourage them with my words and actions, that would lead to life or blessings with them relationally, right?
The same is true if I wasted my money on buying things that I don’t need, would it lead to an financial life or death? Blessing or curses? But, if I invested my money and budgeted it wisely, it would give me to life or blessing financially, right?
If I chose not to take the time to go to church, read my bible, pray, and put what I learned into practice, would my actions lead to a spiritual life or death? Blessings or curses? But, if I chose to do those things, that would lead to life or blessings for me spiritually, right?
So, what this verse is saying in Deuteronomy 30:19 is that we can either choose life by obeying God’s Word and His commands for our own good and be blessed OR we can choose death by ignoring them and doing things our own way and be cursed.
I want to share a story that will hopefully help illustrate this point. I was a wood shop teacher in high school for a number of years. I always gave my students rules and guidelines on how to use the tools and equipment for their safety and protection, much like how God gives us His word and commands for our safety and protection too.
One day a student was using the jointer. Now the jointer is a machine with big blades used to put a smooth surface on a rough board. One of the rules that I had for the jointer for the student’s safety and protection was to use a push stick when jointing a thin flat board to protect their fingers from the blades.
It is a Choice
Well, one day this student CHOSE not to follow the rules and guidelines. He CHOSE to do things his own way. He decided to use his fingers instead of a push stick. I think you can guess the rest of the story. I found him lying on the floor screaming “I can’t feel my fingers, I can’t feel my fingers”. That’s because he was right, because he didn’t have one. He’d cut his middle finger off at the first digit.
We rushed him to the hospital and the next day, he was back in school with a huge bandaid wrapped around his hand the size of a basketball. He was so proud of his missing digit. We affectionately nicknamed him Stubby.
What I’m getting at with this story is just like I gave my wood shop students rules and guidelines for their safety and protection, God gives us His word and commandments for our safety and protection too! But, we have a choice. We can either choose to obey them to have life or blessing OR we can choose to ignore them and suffer the consequences of death or curses. It is our choice!