In my newly-discovered exercise class, as we were struggling to do one more pushup after what felt like a hundred and counting, and just as I was about to let myself collapse onto the mat, our instructor sang out, “Oh yes, you can!” I believed her. She would know, I figured. So I did the next pushup and kept going, with her words in my head like a mantra, “Oh yes, you can!”
In Deuteronomy 30, we see that God offers us the choice—life or death, blessing or curse. God recommends that we choose life. Duh. It’s a no brainer, but we still manage to choose poorly on a regular basis. We text and drive, we drive too fast, we eat at McDonald’s or watch TV during dinner with our families, we hold grudges and buy guns and do more email than conversation. None of these choices brings life, to us or to our world. But we seem to resign ourselves to these bad choices, as though they were inevitable, as though we were incapable of doing the better thing.
I don’t see Jesus as an exercise instructor, but I do hear him saying, in his teachings and his life, “Oh yes, you can!” God offers us the choice, in every aspect of our lives. We need to see these choices, big and small, for what they are, the choice between life and death, blessing and curse. With joy and with courage, we need to step forth in faith, and choose life.