What are you chasing?

She is a woman who pursues her work diligently. Her goals are clear and she is undeterred by the obstacles, unwilling to let other things distract her. I admire her focus that has brought her some amazing success in life. In contrast, I know another person of talent and intelligence who has left those gifts undeveloped, drifting from place to place, professing to be happy but living a difficult life. Both people are of similar backgrounds, spiritual heritage, and ability. Both have known opportunity and hardship in similar ways. One tenaciously works to shape the life she desires; the other is letting the currents carry her.

Do you know that the best Christian life demands much of you? 
Salvation, being right with God, is a gift, beyond our ability to earn.
Discipleship is our choice, requiring focus, purpose, and commitment.

After warning Timothy about the distractions of material things, the lure of the ‘love of money,’  Paul speaks of a different set of priorities.  “But you, Timothy, belong to God; so run from all these evil things, and follow what is right and good. Pursue a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. Fight the good fight for what we believe. Hold tightly to the eternal life that God has given you, which you have confessed so well before many witnesses.” (1 Timothy 6:11-12, NLT)   In that short passage there are principles for us.

Some things must be left behind.

Life offers us many distractions and/or temporary comforts.  The television screen will fill endless hours with images and conversations of little consequence. Alcohol will ease the anxiety. A bowl of ice cream can soothe a soul. Pornography will provide false intimacy, for a moment.  Not all of those choices have equal consequence, but each one can become a substitute for living an engaged life.  Will we listen to our desires or will we turn our back?

The Way must be pursued.

No one drifts into a beautiful Christian life, filled with the fruit of the Spirit.  We must actively choose to love Christ, beyond our words, in more than a song on Sunday.  We gain sight of what it means to belong to Him, then with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness we follow Him, day by day.  ‘Easy Believism’ is a captivating lie that teaches us that we are loved by God and need not strive to become who He wants us to be. Like most half-truths it goes down well. But, there is no real spiritual growth without discipline.

The struggle is real.

The call of Christ sets us at odds with the world in which we live, creates a tension with our old sinful nature, and is opposed by the Evil One.  We are not ‘bad Christians’ if we are tempted. Godly people are tempted to hate, to lust, to crave pleasure!  If we are dedicated to Christ Jesus, He said we should expect to be rejected, perhaps even persecuted.  The world hated Him and if we are His followers we too will be hated.  We do not go looking for trouble. We do not seek to be offensive. But, we accept that we are aliens in a foreign land, citizens of the Heavenly Kingdom.

Hang onto Eternity.

The life of the disciple makes no sense apart from the promise of Heaven. Paul is blunt – “If for this life alone we have hope, we are of all people most miserable.”  The full realization of what we hope for will be found when we enter God’s presence, when we hear His commendation, when we finally know Him without the limitations of this present existence.  Hold onto eternal life now with faith!

Are you trying to walk the fence, so to speak, a creature of this present world while attempting to know the life of the Spirit?  Answer the invitation of discipleship, following Jesus … leaving behind those things that distract, pursuing Him with clear focus, fighting the good fight, with eternity in sight on time’s horizon.

Here is a word from the Word. “How we thank God, who gives us victory over sin and death through Jesus Christ our Lord! So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and steady, always enthusiastic about the Lord’s work, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.” (1 Corinthians 15:57-58, NLT)


O Come All Ye Faithful

O come all ye faithful
Joyful and triumphant
O come ye O come ye to Bethlehem
Come and behold Him
Born the King of angels

O come let us adore Him
O come let us adore Him
O come let us adore Him
Christ the Lord

Sing choirs of angels
Sing in exultation
O sing all ye bright
Hosts of heav’n above
Glory to God all
Glory in the highest

Yea Lord we greet Thee
Born this happy morning
Jesus to Thee be all glory giv’n
Word of the Father
Now in flesh appearing

C. Frederick Oakeley | John Francis Wade

© Words: Public Domain

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