During every journey we arrive at a crossroad which requires a decision, and our Great Lenten Journey is no different. Admittedly, our Christian life is filled with crossroad moments that are not limited to Great Lent, but every Christian comes to a point when we must choose, “Are we in this or not?” Are we really willing to choose the Christian struggle, or not? Up until this moment, maybe loyalty or a bit of guilt has been enough encouragement to keep up the struggle, but now we must choose. Are we in, or out?
In today’s reading from Proverbs (you can read the entire passage below) we read, “The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, that one may avoid the snares of death.” In today’s passage we understand that there is an alternative to the Christian life, which is death. The way of life is always the difficult choice. We choose to be kind rather than oppressive. We choose being slow to anger rather than a rapid-fire temper. Even the words we choose in our conversations will result in our choice of life over death.
Today I invite you to look at the choices of life ahead of you and ask, are you in or out? Are you willing to choose those options which result in life in Christ rather than life in society? That was the essence of yesterday’s blog “Why bother with all this fasting?”
As we look at the ladder to heaven, we are faced with the root choice of world vs heaven. At ever step along the path we are asked to choose heaven, which is true life. It may not result in a better society life now, but God will bless your choice of life in heaven. Frankly, it is the only choice that makes sense our Great Lenten Journey. If life with Christ is the goal, then every time we choose life according to society rules, we are actually choosing death. God is patiently awaiting our choice.
The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, that one may avoid the snares of death. In a multitude of people is the glory of a king, but without people a prince is ruined. He who is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly. A tranquil mind gives life to the flesh, but passion makes the bones rot. He who oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is kind to the needy honors him. The wicked is overthrown through his evil-doing, but the righteous finds refuge through his integrity. Wisdom abides in the mind of a man of understanding, but it is not known in the heart of fools. Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people. A servant who deals wisely has the king's favor, but his wrath falls on one who acts shamefully. A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise dispenses knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly. The eyes of the LORD are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good. A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit. – Proverbs 14.27-15.4