By Lena Miles1
Have you ever watched or listened to somebody's story or achievement and thought to yourself: "Man, my life is worthless compared to that" or, "Am I missing out on my own life?"
I have. One of those times was when I listened to a TED presentation by Diana Nyad. If you don't know who she is, you can google her and find a lot of information about her or listen to that same presentation here. I found out in that video that she's a great swimer who tried to swim from Cuba to Florida a few times and finally succeeded.
So she tells her audience about this experience with a lot of passion. She tells them how she's been years into it, and what dangers were there, and how black it was at night, and about her hallucinations, and the team that was right there with her, and the songs that she listened to and sang. But more importantly, she talked about how the journey is often more important than the destination and how to be is really to do, and how we should always find a way.
As you try to imagine all that, you begin to see how that really was a life changing experience or we could even say a great achievement. But then I thought about her last words: ".. I'm proud of it all, but the truth is I'm walking around tall because I am that bold fearless person, and I will be every day, until it's time for these days to be done". And those words show the value of that experience as great as it is.
We are as Christians called to something different. We are called to different thinking. All these inspirational words are missing God and His view on our actions in life. God calls us to a holy life thought by thought, word by word, and action by action. 1 Peter 1:16 "because it is written, 'Be holy, for I am holy...'" But even more than that God has also revealed to us the fact that our life choices matter not only in this life, but also in our lives to come. And He tells us to run in such a way that we could obtain the prize:
1 Cor 9: 24-27: Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.
Paul says that he has given his life as an offering to God to receive the crown of righteousness:
1 Tim 4:6-8: For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.
We are not supposed to run and fight and train and discipline ourselves just for the experience or for the feeling that we have achieved something. There is a reason. There is a prize. He knows and sees everything. He knows what we do for Him and by Him. And that will stand for eternity, not just "until it's time for these days to be done".
One thing that often discourages us and keeps us from doing the right thing the right way is appearance. Sometimes the things that we do for God by His power are not noticed and tracked on the internet, are not supported by many, but are behind the scenes. Sometimes they just look too small to be important. But we should be reminded of the truth of God's Word and trust Him to fulfill His achievements through us regardless of whether they are big or small in human eyes. God has promised that those deeds would stand the fire and would shine through as gold, silver, and precious stones to shine for His glory forever.
1 Cor 3: 12-15: Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is. If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
Let us not be discouraged and let us stand, run, and fight with Him and for Him till the end of our lives to bring Him even more glory forever.1 Lena lives in Kiev, Ukraine with her husband and serves with Bold Grace Eastern Europe as a Russian translator.