Come Hell, High Water or both
Most evenings in my home right now involve preparing and eating dinner together as a family, cleaning up, then finding our seats in front of the TV. It’s Olympic season, and we’re all in on Rio 2016. Out of the four of us, I’m probably the least athletic no thanks to the fact I never played a single organized sport growing up. Nor does my body - or mind - seem to have the faculties required to endure pain for seasons unendingly.
Though I possess little on any Olympic training front, the past seven years have proven to be the most consistently challenging spiritual workout of my life. Unlike a true athlete whose ultimate achievement is measured by success - or the complete lack thereof - I’m still mostly sitting. Sometimes success is calculated and achieved in mere seconds like Usain Bolt making history in the blink of 9.81 seconds. Approximately 60,000 people watched Usain’s bolt from the stands. Most eyeballs, like our own (and an incomprehensible 35 million others - Thirty-Five Million!) watched from a more comfortable space.
Everyone was, and still is, talking about the fastest man alive. Seven other runners were there, though - four to his left and three to his right - and they were all fast. I may not have dug deep enough, but I couldn't find a single Google search result for any of the other athletes competing for gold in that race. They all finished milliseconds after Bolt. Few care; not because they weren't good, but because they had been overshadowed. Someone more captivating drew our attention away from silver, bronze, and 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.
You and I, as fellow followers of Jesus, will likely never have millions, let alone tens of millions, cheering for us. At least not here, and not now. Who cares?
As I near seven years since committing my life to full Jesus surrender, I find one devil has worked harder than all others to kill me.
When this devil of a derailing distraction shows up, it aims to claim me and all my attention. It tells me how pathetic life is, how far out of my reach success is, how I’m alone, that I don’t matter, all I do is screw up, no deep purpose exists, Jesus is not real, does not care, and I’d be better off lifeless.
Despair’s purpose and plan is to disqualify me, not from running - he’s fine with me running - but from grace and the race. To get me running, or crawling, in any direction but that one state of determination. Fixed gaze on the King of kings.
Despair is a liar.
I confess listening too often to his wretched misery.
Every lie of his opposes what God promised, and delivers, true:
Life is full. - John 10:10
I am victorious. - Psalm 20:6
Jesus is with me. - Matthew 28:20
I matter. - Isaiah 43:1
Screwing up only provides an opportunity for Jesus to show off. - 2 Corinthians 12:9
Purpose is life and I am living. - Psalm 138:8
Jesus is real. - John 20:19-24
Jesus cares. - Matthew 18:12
I’m better off alive. - Ecclesiastes 9:4
Come hell or high water, or both; our everything is spent well on Jesus.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. - Hebrews 12:1-3