Bible Society of South Africa

Two paths to choose from – life or death? – 6 October 2022

By Ewald Schmidt

Bible text(s)

5Those who live as their human nature tells them to, have their minds controlled by what human nature wants. Those who live as the Spirit tells them to, have their minds controlled by what the Spirit wants. 6To be controlled by human nature results in death; to be controlled by the Spirit results in life and peace.

Romans 8:5-6GNBOpen in Bible reader

The New Testament, in many different places, teaches us about the concept of two different paths in life – the most famous being Jesus’ words in Matthew 7:13-14. Every person finds themselves on one of these two paths in life. The first path is the road leading to death. This is the natural path, the path on which we were born. Paul teaches us that our choices on this path are determined by what our flesh desires. We do what we want, when we want it and how we want it, usually without any consideration of how it affects the people around us. The slogan on this path is, “I did it my way!” We are born to think that our way is the best way, the only way. Proverbs 21:2 warns: A person may think their own ways are right, but the Lord weighs the heart.

If you have any doubts about the effect the human nature, or desires of the flesh have on this world, just turn on any news channel. All the war, violence, crime and most of the hurt of people, maybe even the most of natural disasters, were caused by human greed. Someone did something that was right in his own eyes, without consideration for his neighbour or his impact on this earth. Human nature tends to be destructive on relationships, on the planet as a whole and on my own future. It leads to death.

The Lord’s alternative is much more attractive! Where Jesus is reigning as King, people are filled and being led by the Holy Spirit. He transforms our lives, back to the original design specs of our Creator. The will of God is that we live in a loving relationship with him and each other, and that we take care of this earth. Our choices and way of life should always be a testimony of his love and care. This path leads to life and peace – peace with God, peace with my fellow man and peace in my own heart. This is what the Spirit desires, which is our mission in life – to be part of God’s restoration of this broken world, to experience and extend his work of healing to the brokenness around us. I am called to work with God. I am here to be the salt of the earth and a light to this world. (Matthew 5:13-16) When my life is in harmony with God’s will, the result I will see in my own life is peace, and life, everlasting enduring life.

Prayer: Lord, lead me on the path of life through your Holy Spirit. Come and guide me in my choices, that I may be an instrument of healing, peace and life in your hand. Amen

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