Life, at times, is a strange thing. It confounds us. It’s a mystery, a woman leading a man on a merry chase. The man enjoys the chase enough, but what’s driving him is the prize at the end. The thought that he will attain the goal, get the prize. In the man’s case the beautiful woman is something he thinks will satisfy him. Life does this to us. It leads us on many merry chases, chases for fame, fortune, and freedom. Fast cars and pretty houses are things that if we could just grasp even for a fleeting moment will fill us up and leave us…satisfied. Not true though as so many of us know, because behind it all is an ugliness that we’d rather forget exists; the ugliness of our human nature, the drive to get what we want, when we want, and how we want it.
The aforementioned freedom is an elusive thing. It can mean many things to many people. It depends on your position in life. To the inmate it simply means no set schedule, eating when and what you want, and being in a space larger than 8x8x12. To the abused woman it means being free of the daily fear for your life or the life of your children. Being away from the prison her mate has created and that she has felt compelled to remain in. For others who aren’t in as extreme situations it might be freedom from being broke; the prison of pennilessness. It might be freedom from the bondage of pornography, adultery, gluttony, anger, mental illness, depression. Well you get the picture. There are a million things that conflict any one of us at any time and it changes moment to moment. It changes so often it’s hard to keep up with ourselves let alone those we love and care for.
Self-centeredness is a terrible thing. It lies to us. Not only does it make us the center of our own worlds, but it makes us believe that we deserve to be there. Everything important slowly fades from view. It’s a gradual thing of course, as most things are that we wish we could change in hindsight. We never realize it’s happening until we are so deep in we look up and can’t see the light above. When we take a breath it is tainted with the truth, the truth that we have allowed ourselves to be consumed. Consumed by this world we were commanded not to love.
"Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world - the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life - is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever." (1 John 2:15)
As Christians this balance is difficult to achieve. We are in fact in this world. We are here to minister and witness to God’s never ending glory, mercy, and grace. We also have to go to work every day and participate in the mundane trappings of life. I call them trappings because they become a trap.
“1Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1&2)
This race we are running does in fact take patience. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. With the fast food mentality of our society today we expect instant gratification. Not only for the things which we desire, but for the results we desire. We desire instant triumph at the things we venture to try. Our relationship with Christ is obviously the most important. Despite the fact that we don’t have to be good, we try to. We try to succeed at it when we indeed already achieved the ultimate accomplishment. We succeeded the day we decided to accept Jesus Christ as our savior. The day we realized we were beyond redemption without the shedding of His blood made us victors over sin, this world, and our life. I’ll leave you with this:
“55O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 15:55-58)