Choose life.

If you’ve visited my small group lately, or if you knew me when, chances are you’ve probably seen my guitar.

If you’ve seen my guitar, you’ve probably wondered why I wrote “choose life” on the front of it. You probably assumed it was some sort of political statement against abortion. Nothing could be further from the truth, but for the record, I certainly am 100% against murder.

If you knew me before Christ snatched me out of the grave, you’d know how deeply I’d absorbed the drug culture. The local scene, the punk scene, the rave scene… if there was a scene that celebrated drug use, I was likely a part of it at one time or another. By nature, I’ve always been a voracious book, movie, and music consumer – and back then, if I came across anything that indicated its creator led a lifestyle like mine, some part of it became a part of me. If a lyric, quote, or monologue caught my attention, it instantly became a philosophy for life. I quite literally wrote it on my wall, but that’s another redemption story for another day. Media is so powerful… even to a loud, non-conformist rebel like my younger self, who took great pride in refusing to be a sheep.

That being said, allow me to share with you the quote which inspired me to write on my guitar. It was from a cult classic drug movie called Trainspotting. (Edited for profanity.)

“Choose Life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a big television, choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players and electrical tin openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol, and dental insurance. Choose fixed interest mortgage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends. Choose leisurewear and matching luggage. Choose a three-piece suit on hire purchase in a range of fabrics. Choose DIY and wondering who the [heck] you are on Sunday morning. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing, spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end of it all… in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, [messed-up] brats you spawned to replace yourselves. Choose your future. Choose life… But why would I want to do a thing like that? I chose not to choose life. I chose somethin’ else. And the reasons? There are no reasons. Who needs reasons when you’ve got heroin?”

Tragic, isn’t it? While I am still vehemently opposed to wasting my life as the rest of the world does, today, I’m appalled by Mark Renton’s suggested alternative. What kind of life is that? Answer: There is no life in that. I speak from experience. All of those choices lead to death, apart from Christ.  (John 14:6, Romans 8:1-13, Ephesians 2:1-10, John 1:1-5)

It has always bothered me that I still have that written on my guitar, even though only a handful of people knew why I really wrote it on there. I’ve tried to clean it off with a number of different chemicals, but I couldn’t find anything that wouldn’t also damage the finish and I didn’t have the time/money/patience/skill to sand the whole thing down and start from scratch. But after a while, I accepted it as a symbol of the life the Lord ransomed me from; a reminder of my “metamorphoses”, as my dear friend Ashley calls it. And I chose to be ok with that, even though it still bothered me a little.

But this morning, the Lord used His servant Elisabeth Elliott to lead me here:

“I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore CHOOSE LIFE, that you and your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying His voice and holding fast to him, for He is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.” – Deuteronomy 30:19-20

God is good. He is faithful and He is loving and He is life. By His grace, I will choose Him all the days of my life.

“Because Your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise You. So I will bless You as long as I live; in Your name I will lift up my hands.” – Psalm 63:3-4