No one walks casually into the Olympic Games and announces they’ve decided for the fun of it to compete in a race. Olympic athletes train for years…fully committed in all aspects of their lives with concentration and drive. And in the end for a few, their heroic struggle pays off with a gold medal. Our Christian life is one of training daily and fighting for victory over temptation. James 1:12 tells us, ” Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.” We are in training for a crown of life, a crown of glory that will never fade away, and eternal victory.
Are you going through trouble and hardship today…then this is for you. Remember, there is no one like our God. He is a faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commands. (Deuteronomy 7:9-12) For this covenant of love we have with God is everlasting…unshakable, unbreakable, merciful, and kind. He knows exactly what you’re going through today and He cares.
Jesus was speaking of Himself in this verse…but it could also apply to many Believers. For example, maybe you grew up in a rough neighborhood, full of violence and drugs…and maybe you became involved in all of it. But later in life, you gave your heart to the Lord, cleaned up your act, and changed completely. Yet sadly when you go back home, those who knew you only see the person you were, and cannot accept the person you’ve become.
We are but mortal beings…flesh and blood…here on earth for a time, but then gone. Our life, as fleeting as the wild flowers we find in a meadow…beautiful one day, and wilted the next. Our bodies, as lowly and fragile as the dust and ashes we return to. Even the kind acts, the mercy and love we’ve shown others during our time on earth will eventually fade from memory. So make the most of the day God has given you.
It only takes one time…one misstep, one lapse of judgement, one bad decision to overshadow all the good we’ve done. For when we lack good sense and act foolishly…we are not operating with practical spirituality and prudence, but rather with indiscretion and carelessness. And to paraphrase Proverbs 18:2, that’s when a fool opens their mouth and inserts their foot.
The Apostle John was writing to the Church in the city of Pergamum…where 1000 feet above the plain stood an immense altar to Zeus, the chief god of Greek mythology. Despite being immersed in the oppressiveness of false religion…John was encouraging the Believers to hold fast to their faith. He was urging them to continue to be part of the world, but not of it… and rejoicing that they had refused to become part of this false religious cult and instead maintained their relationship with Jesus Christ. Religious persecution takes on all kinds of faces, and Satan is a master at twisting the truth. And just because a Church is located on the highest point of the city doesn’t mean it’s the godliest.