I once asked an older gentleman how he was doing and he replied, “I’m getting by ok.” This exchange is typical in central Texas for hello. However, I began thinking how many of settle for just getting by. How many times do we just go through the motions and settle for making it through another day of mediocrity?
As children of God, we are called to so much more. C. S. Lewis argued in his sermon “The Weight of Glory” that we often set the bar to low. “We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” In comparison to what God wants to give us, the best this world can offer is toys, trinkets and tinsel.
We need to set our sights higher than just getting by. Scripture says that we are joint heirs with Jesus, royal priests, sons and daughters of God, more than conquerors, etc. None of the descriptions I read inspire me to just get by. Raise the bar and go for it! Live life. Do not settle for merely enduring it.
Remember what Paul said, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” (II Corinthians 5:10 NKJV). We will one day appear before Christ and give an account of how we managed this gift of life He gave to us. In that day, I do not want to say, “I got by…..” On that day, I want to know that I entered heaven having really lived and experienced abundant life in Christ. Set your sights high!
Have you ever had to confess something? I am talking about walking up to someone, admitting you are at fault, and waiting for them to pass judgment. I have faced those circumstances a few times in my life. One time I particular that comes to mind happened late one night as I was coming home from college. It was after a basketball game. I was part of an unofficial cheering section called front row lunatics at Jacksonville College. We painted logos in our faces and yelled our lungs out cheering on our Jaguars. As I drove through the city of Kemp, TX, I noticed red lights in my mirror. I moved to the right lane and kept driving thinking it was and ambulance or fire truck in the distance, but they stayed behind me. I finally realized they were waiting for me to pull over before passing. I was stunned when they parked behind me and I discovered it was a police car. I received my one and only ticket that night. He probably did not know what to think of me sitting there in a muscle shirt with the remnants of face paint still visible. I don’t think he liked it when I said I assumed he was in a fire truck since his lights were all red. In my hometown we had blue lights with the red on police cars to distinguish such things. He gave me a ticket for the ten miles an hour too fast I was going. That was nothing compared to when I had to tell my Dad about it. I had to confess and throw myself on the mercy of the parental court and hope for the best. Now that I have children I realize something I could not back then. My Dad’s love for me and concern for my welfare tempered his discipline as he dispensed justice.
I came across these verses which jogged my memory about those times of approaching judgment. “I know, Lord, that a man’s way of life is not his own; no one who walks determines his own steps. Discipline me, Lord, but with justice — not in Your anger, or You will reduce me to nothing.” (Jeremiah 10:23-24 HCSB).
It takes faith and courage to seek out correction. Knowing that we have a loving Father as our judge, should help us when we have sinned. I am not saying His love causes Him to ignore our sinful choices. I am pointing out, that in dispensing discipline, His love for us has our best interest at heart. Principles and commands from God’s word are not there to harm or deprive us. They are there to protect us. When God disciplines us He seeks to correct us. The point is never to zap us, but instead it is to get us back on the right path living the best possible life. Jeremiah understood that and sought out God’s gentle discipline.
When we have sinned, go to God like Jeremiah and seek His gentle correction.