Thursday, March 30, 2017

Choose Life!

Choose Life!
by Bryan J. Neva, Sr.


In 1981, teenagers George Kyriacos Panayiotou (professionally known as George Michael) and Andrew John Ridgeley formed a musical duo in Hertfordshire, England. Calling themselves Wham!, they meteorically rose to the top (with a few bumps along the way) and eventually sold more than 28 million records by the time they broke up in 1986.

Their most memorable hit, "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go," was released in 1984 and rose to #1 in the UK and the US; it was subsequently ranked #28 by VH1's 100 greatest hits of the 1980s. In the music video, the duo wore designer T-shirts with the slogans, "CHOOSE LIFE" printed on them.

In hindsight, the "CHOOSE LIFE" T-Shirts worn in their music video was rather ironic as Michael and Ridgeley embraced the hedonistic lifestyle of most music stars. Their idea of "Choosing Life" was simply uninhibited personal freedom, having fun, and doing whatever feels good. That was living life to the fullest. Ridgeley eventually settled down to a more normal lifestyle, but Michael continued to live a debauched lifestyle which probably contributed to his untimely death in December 2016 at the age of 53. 

Ask anyone who's fighting a terminal illness if they "Choose Life" and they'll give you an unequivocal "Yes!" Healthcare comprises about 20% of the U.S. economy, so most of us want to stay alive. But staying alive is quit different from having a high quality of life. We all exist but how many of us truly live? 

More than 3000 years ago, the Prophet Moses gave an inspirational speech to the people of Israel about "Choosing Life" (Deuteronomy 30:11-20): 
Surely what I'm telling you today is not at all hard, nor is it too far away. It's not up in heaven that you should say, "Who'll go up to heaven for us to learn about it so that we can live by it?" Neither is it something beyond the sea that you should say, "Who'll cross the seas for us to learn about it so that we can live by it?" No, not at all, what I'm telling you today is actually very near to you...it's in your mouth and it's in your heart. What I'm telling you today is life and prosperity; it's death and adversity! All you must do is obey the commandments of the Lord your God by loving Him, walking in His ways, and observing all that He has taught you, then you'll live and prosper and the Lord your God will bless you. But if you turn away and do not obey Him, then you'll perish and die. So I call upon heaven and earth today to bear witness to what I have told you; I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your family may live and prosper!
Moses' taught that to "Choose Life" was to obey God's commandments by loving Him, walking in His ways, and following His teachings. And by doing these you'll prosper and God'll bless you. Not doing these is simply to "Choose Death" and curses.   

God has given all of us the freedom to choose how we want to live our lives. If we want to live a hedonistic lifestyle, that's our right. God's not going to stop us. But God has revealed to us the way to a have a truly abundant life simply by loving Him, walking in His ways, and following His teachings. The choice is between life and death; it's between blessings and curses. So "Choose Life" so that you and your family may live and prosper!

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