The Life by Choice

914 Views

Let us take some time to consider how blessed we are to live the life we have chosen according to God’s word in our journey of faith, so that we can go to heaven by obeying God’s word and making the choices that please Father and Mother all the time.

When we look at the lives of our forefathers in faith—from Moses, Abraham, Noah, Adam, and Eve to Jesus’ disciples such as Peter, John, and James, they all lived their lives by choice. During the journey of the Israelites in the desert, the Israelites wasted their time by making unfavorable choices every moment of their lives.

It is the same with our lives. Life is a series of choices. Every second, every minute, we stand at the crossroads of life, making choices. Through the teachings of the Bible, let us now think about whether or not we are living an upright life by making the right choices.

The life of the disciples who chose Christ

The span of our life is too short. It seems like just yesterday when people all around the world were in a festive mood, setting off fireworks to celebrate the New Year. Now the end of the year is just around the corner. A year goes by so quickly. Such is our life.

God established a six-thousand-year plan to save all humanity and divided the six thousand years into three ages—the age of the Father, the age of the Son, and the age of the Holy Spirit—to carry out His work of salvation. We can enter the way of salvation when we choose to live according to the words of the Bible. That is why God has told us to always obey His word.

Through the Bible, let us see what choice the disciples made when they received Jesus’ call to follow Him.

From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him. Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him. Mt 4:17–22

Peter, Andrew, James, and John made their living by catching fish in the Sea of Galilee every day. One day, Jesus approached them and said, “Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Then the disciples immediately responded to Jesus’ call and made a choice. Their choice was to leave everything behind and follow Jesus.

It was not because God needed us that He came to this earth. He took pity on us, human beings, who were suffering in this sinful world, and came to save us. So, when God tells us to believe in Him or to walk this path, it is not because He wants something from us.

Since the disciples realized this, they willingly responded to Jesus’ call to follow Him. Even though it was a thorny path on which there was more suffering than glory, they wanted to walk with God and chose to follow that path. They left their boats and nets—the essential tools which they needed to make their living, and chose to follow the voice of Jesus saying, “Come, follow me.” They absolutely made the right choice. They are the most blessed people in the Bible.

They went through many hardships and conflicts in their lives, but where are they now? There is no doubt that Peter is with Jesus in the kingdom of heaven now, nearly 2,000 years later. He must be very happy there, enjoying inexpressible comfort in the arms of God and doing whatever he wants.

When we consider this, we come to realize again that we have really made the right and blessed choice to receive Father and Mother in this age. Even though a man holds a high position or rank on this earth, his life is finite—it does not last long. However, the things of heaven are eternal—they last forever and ever. I want you all to make the wise choice to live for eternity, instead of the foolish choice to live for the moment.

The wrong choice of Judas Iscariot

At every moment in our lives we have a choice. If we make a wrong choice at that moment, we will fall into an irrevocable path. Among Jesus’ twelve disciples there was just one person who had made the wrong choice.

Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty silver coins. From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over. Mt 26:14–16

Judas Iscariot chose thirty silver coins instead of Jesus, and watched for an opportunity to hand Him over. Sometimes we see some foolish, poor people who make such a wrong choice when they walk the path of faith, so that they lose eternal life and the everlasting kingdom of heaven.

How glorious it is to be a disciple of Jesus! Judas Iscariot was taught directly by Jesus; he learned and accepted what Jesus said and did, as one of Jesus’ closest followers. Nevertheless, he loved money more than Jesus. From the moment he chose money, God seemed different to him. Unlike other disciples such as John and Peter, Judas Iscariot did not feel joy while following Jesus; for he was not welcomed or favored by people, but instead he was always ridiculed as a “heretic” and was slandered by them: “How can he, a mere man, be God?” Finally he made the wrong choice, and later on he realized what he had done was wrong. However, he did not repent; he only regretted. As a result, he died a miserable death.

Where is Judas Iscariot now, 2,000 years later? What is he doing now? In the fiery lake of burning sulfur, he must be deeply regretting what he did, saying to himself, ‘Why did I do so at that time? Why did I make the wrong choice?’

Once a time to make a choice passes by, we cannot turn it back. In the parable of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16, when the rich man died and went to hell, he regretted in torment, but he could not reverse time.

Compare the life chosen by Judas Iscariot with the life of Peter and other disciples who followed Christ till the end. Our life of faith is also a series of choices. Keeping the Sabbath is also one of our choices. Those who obey God’s commandments and keep the faith are like Peter and John who followed Jesus immediately when He said, “Come, follow me.” Everyone is busy and has important things to do. Leaving all those things behind, however, we have chosen to be clothed with the eternal blessings of heaven and holiness and to live according to God’s will by worshiping God in obedience to God’s command, “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.” That is why we come to Zion and keep the Sabbath every week.

Today, like every other day, we make choices between the things of the world and God’s. We do not know what kind of choice-making situations are ahead waiting for us, but in any and every situation we need to make a choice in accordance with God’s will.

A choice for the moment, and a choice for eternity

When Jesus was hung on the cross, there were two robbers crucified on either side of Him. Let us find out what choices they made at the crucial moment, through the following scene from the Bible.

One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!” But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.” Lk 23:39–43

In regard to these two robbers, Father said that the robber on Jesus’ left side was the person who thought about the moment, and that the robber on His right side was the one who thought about eternity. The robber on Jesus’ left side expected that if he accommodated himself to the opinion of the crowd, they might spare his life. So, he insulted and slandered Jesus, saying, “If you are the Christ, save yourself and us!” like the other people did.

While the robber on Jesus’ left side only thought about the moment, the robber on His right side looked forward to eternity. So, he repented of his sins and begged Jesus to save him. Since he chose eternity, he received the blessings of heaven through Jesus’ words, “Today you will be with me in paradise.”

The eleven disciples of Jesus also looked forward to eternity even in difficult situations. If they had chosen the moment, they would have betrayed Christ by aligning themselves with the world, like Judas Iscariot. However, since they chose eternity, they followed Jesus till the end even in dangerous situations when people tried to stone them to death, labeling Jesus as a Nazarene and saying to Him, “You, a mere man, claim to be God.”

In this age, we are living the life of faith, which only those who have chosen eternity can do. There is no one in Zion who has chosen the moment. Everyone has chosen eternity and is looking forward to the eternal world. Although persecution comes our way and other people do not understand us, we can run powerfully towards the eternal kingdom of heaven because we have chosen eternity.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Co 4:16–18

What is seen is temporary. Since we have chosen what is unseen and eternal, we are now striving to live in obedience to God’s word. If we chose the moment, we would keep Sunday and Christmas, which are universally accepted among people in the world. However, what we have chosen is God’s word that is written for eternity. That is why we obey and follow God’s commandments instead of men’s rules and believe that there exists God the Mother as well as God the Father, just as the Bible teaches us.

Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live . . . The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us . . . For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. Ro 8:12–25

If we choose the moment, we will end up being like Judas Iscariot. If we choose eternity, we will be like John, Peter, and James. Even if we suffer martyrdom, we can have enough faith to constantly follow the teachings of Christ. We need to have wisdom to live for eternity, instead of clinging to the things of this world that only last for a short time and then vanish. All the teachings that Father and Mother have given us are for us to live for eternity.

Those who have faith choose eternity

In our life of faith, sometimes we may think, ‘Why should we suffer persecution like this?’ ‘Why is the world giving us so much pain and trouble?’ Whenever we think this way, God asks us, “What do you think of Me? Do you think I have no power to stop the persecution?”

God is the Almighty, who can do everything. He can allow us to receive glory and honor, to win popularity among people, and to earn respect from them. However, God makes us suffer temporary hardship and pain as well as jealousy and persecution from people in the world, in order to give us eternal joy and happiness rather than temporary joy and pleasure. To put it simply, God allows us to be temporarily humble in this world to make us immortal.

Those who do not realize this fact easily give up following God’s path because of temporary hardship, like Demas. The Apostle Paul felt very anxious and distressed when Demas, who had been preaching the gospel with him, chose the moment and changed the direction of his life towards the world (2 Ti 4:10). To keep the faith, we should choose eternity and look at things eternal.

You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For in just a very little while, “He who is coming will come and will not delay. But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him.” But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved. Heb 10:36–39

Those who believe and are saved have something in common: They have chosen eternity without clinging to the things that only last for a short time and then vanish. By faith Moses refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy pleasures of sin for a short time. So did Abraham and Noah. They felt much more joyful and happier to choose to live for eternity. Their choice was beyond comprehension to those who chose the moment. However, when the eternal kingdom of heaven comes, all the people will acknowledge them, saying, “They are indeed the people who lived the right way!” “They are the ones who made the right choice!”

The Spirit and the Bride, our Father and Mother, are calling all people around the world to come (Rev 22:17). Since we have come to the Spirit and the Bride, we have learned wisdom to choose eternity rather than the moment, through the teachings of the Bible. No matter what other people say and what kind of choices they have made, we need to have confidence that we have definitely made the right choice now. The choice to follow the teachings of the Bible without adding to or taking away from God’s word is the surest and most reliable choice (Rev 22:18–19). There are many people who try to deceive others and also a lot of traps and snares lurking everywhere in the world. However, the teachings of the Bible always lead us to the right path and help us proceed towards eternity.

Those who drift away from God’s word are constantly tempted by what is transient. To them, the life of Peter who suffered for Christ seems wretched, while the lives of the Pharisees, the teachers of the law, and the high priests who earned favor and respect from people in those days seem gorgeous. However, we don’t need to envy them at all. The Bible says that even the earth is like a drop in a bucket and is regarded as dust on the scales in the eyes of God.

Let us take pride in ourselves as those who have chosen eternity. There is a bigger and a more beautiful and glorious world for us. Our brothers and sisters in Zion! Let us run powerfully towards the eternal kingdom of heaven together, imagining the happy moments when we will travel freely from star to star in the universe, today to the Bear and tomorrow to the Orion, hand in hand with our Father and Mother forever and ever.