Survival of the Fittest

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. 1Corinthians 9:24-27

So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man.  Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”
      But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
      The man asked him, “What is your name?”
      “Jacob,” he answered.
Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome.”
      Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.”
      But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there.
So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.” Genesis 32:24-30

Anyone who has ever read those two passages and come to the conclusion that following Christ or gaining God’s blessings (at least some of the time) is easy, has never really run very hard or spent six minutes on the mat (let alone hours!) Somehow we’ve gotten into this mentality that, contrary to our experience with any other thing we deem worth having, a life with Christ should be effortless, something that need not be maintained through hard work, discipline and large amounts time.

Now I know that right now your Faith-not-Works sense is tingling, but come on. We are so ready to give our energy to any other thing that sparks our interest (be it school, work, girls, boys, cars games etc…) and yet we shake our fists and ask “why” when we turn to a relationship we’ve neglected to spend any time on in the past, but really need right now (though God, in his great Grace, seems to always come through for us… strange). What kind of relationships do we have with people? If we treated other human beings in this way would we have any friends? Would our relatives come to our dinner parties? In what truly valuable relationship have you never experienced a time when it all felt uphill, when you had to just grasp at any part of them because you didn’t know what was going to happen, if they were going to stay?

I will dig deep to run that last half mile, I will persevere to see if I can keep myself from getting pinned, but somehow I fail to have any perseverance when it comes to prayer. God has answered the vast majority (if not all) of my prayers, but do I deign to notice? Do I even value his opinion enough to wrestle with him? His Blessings?

Where have we turned off the Narrow Road when the God of the Universe reaches out his hand and asks us to follow Him, though at a pace where we might have to train a bit to keep up, and we turn up our noses declaring “What? I thought you said this was free! Pfft, if I have to be short of breath I will spend my energy elsewhere thankyouverymuch.” When did we get so messed up that we no longer name the places and the times where God has shown us His face and spared us, nay gave us, our lives?

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~ by justinhong on November 19, 2008.

4 Responses to “Survival of the Fittest”

  1. justin i freakin love you. beautifully written and something everyone should chew on.ummm.. i kind of think thats improper use of “deign” but i might be wrong. unless that’s actually what you are saying… but… yeah. šŸ˜€ (haha don’t hate me and my anal-ness, it’s probably fine.)

  2. that’s very trueand yeah, God’s grace is…well..amazing. and totally undeserved.

  3. @fAtZ –  haha i meant deign šŸ˜›

  4. i totally agree

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