In the television singing competition called “The Voice,” each judge chooses a team of 12 from the “blind auditions.” Then each judge has to pair them up for a “battle round” where he has to pick one of each pair to continue on his or her team. After the pair sings, the other judges comment on the performance and who they think may have done better and then the judge who had selected the pair for his/her team is asked by the emcee, “It is time to choose the winner of this battle round. Who do you pick?” It is quite a gut-wrenching time for the judge since the two singers are often very equal in talent.
I’m reminded of the time in the Old Testament when the Israelites, under the leadership of Joshua, had entered and divided up the land that God had promised to them. Joshua gathered all the tribes together at Shechem and called on the people to reaffirm their commitment to God and His covenant. Joshua reviewed the history of the Israelites, going back to Abraham and then he gave them this challenge: “Now, therefore, fear the LORD and serve Him in sincerity and truth; and put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. And if it disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Josh. 24:14,15). Joshua reminded the people of all that the LORD (Jehovah) had done for them and told them it was now time for them to decide whether they would serve Him or the false gods their fathers had served in Egypt. Joshua set the example for them, saying, “As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
Some of you reading this “Wisdom of the Week” have for some time been considering the evidence for God and what He has done for you but you have yet to make a decision to commit your life to Him and serve Him. I would like to challenge you as Joshua did the people of Israel. It is time to choose. You could go on thinking about it until the day you die and then it will be too late, “Inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment” (Heb. 9:27). If the Holy Spirit is speaking to your heart about your need to take Christ as your Lord and Savior, I urge you not to keep putting it off. The Apostle Paul, quoting from Isaiah 49:8, wrote: “…behold, now is the acceptable time, behold, now is the day of salvation” (II Cor. 6:2). His emphasis is on the “now.” We cannot presume upon the future. We have no idea how many days we have left in our life or when the Lord will come to take believers home in what we call the rapture. As we view the scene on the world stage today, we have to believe that Jesus must be coming very soon to catch away His “Bride” (the “Church” made up of all believers, dead and alive). It is imperative that we are ready for either death or rapture. And the time is now. To postpone a decision may prove eternally fatal.
And, it isn’t just our eternal destiny that is at stake, as crucial as that may be. A decision for Christ also changes our life for the here and now. Jesus said, “I am come that you might have life (eternal life in heaven) and that you might have it abundantly (full and overflowing)” (Jn. 10:10). When we invite Jesus into our life, He meets the deep longing of our heart and provides everything we need to live a life of peace and joy and significance, no matter what our lot in life, no matter our circumstances. Paul said, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21). In other words, as a believer, no matter what happens, I am a winner. “Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Cor. 15:57). I have lived enough years to hear lots of testimonies of those who have put their trust in Christ for eternal life, and I have yet to hear anyone say, “I’m glad I waited as long as I did to receive Christ.” But I have heard many who have uttered, “Oh, why did I wait so long!” God offers us so much through Jesus Christ. We are foolish if we ignore or refuse to respond to His gracious offer repeated over and over in Scripture—in fact right up to the last chapter of the Bible, where we read: “And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost (for Jesus paid the price…I Pet. 1:18-21)” (Rev. 22:17).
If you have never received Jesus as your personal Savior, “It is time to choose!” You may do so right now by praying, “Dear God, I know I’m a sinful person. I know I can’t get to heaven by myself. I could never be good enough. I believe Jesus is Your Son and that He died on the cross in my place. I understand He’s the only way into heaven. Please take away my sin and give me the gift of eternal life through Your Son. Help me serve You, and make me a follower of Jesus. Thank you God for doing this for me. Amen!”
If any of you who are reading this responded to the Holy Spirit’s prompting and prayed to receive Christ, I would love to hear from you. For those of you who already know Christ as Savior, maybe you could pass this on to someone for whom you have been praying that has yet to make that decision. I will be praying with you that the Spirit will open the heart of those people to see who Christ is and to trust Him for eternal life.