Real life is not about winning

Sometime ago I read about a particular bike race that took place in India.  One of the participants  was however unclear about the rules!  When the starting gun was fired, off  he rode as fast as he could.  Instantly he realised he was being successful – he left the other cyclists far behind.  On and on he went until he couldn’t even see them he was so far in front.  Finally when he returned to the starting point he was stunned when he discovered that he had come last in the competition!  You see the purpose of the race was to discover who could go the slowest and  not fall off!  He had misjudged what real success was.

There is a fascinating spiritual parallel to this.  The driving force in our society is “be successful” and “be an achiever”.  Society measures success in terms of “promotion”, “wealth”, “power”, “holidays”, “expensive cars” etc etc.  The reality however, is that in God’s eyes, real success and real achievement is measured in how a person has progressed in their spiritual life.  It is to be measured in
how loyal an individual is to His Commandments, how trusting they are of His Promises, and how faithful they are in resisting temptation.  It is to be measured in how they have progressively dealt with their character faults, how they have treated others around them and how they have brought their life into line with the will of God.  True greatness, true achievement and true success is what a person is like in heart.  It is the heart which God values and what rewards come with this kind of success! 

The rewards are peace, joy, s
elf control, gentleness, kindness and so on.  In Revelation Chapter 3 a chilling description is given of people who fail to realise what real success is.  It states, “you have said I am rich, have become wealthy and have need of nothing, and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked.” 

Day after day I see people striving for the wrong kind of success.  I see them working long hours to climb up the corporate ladder.  I often think they are like people climbing a tall tree – they strive and sweat and struggle and often they finally achieve their goal by reaching the top, but I know that one day it will dawn on them they have been climbing the wrong tree!  If they had spent as much energy and time developing a Godly character they would be truly great and have rewards that money cannot buy. 

Some years ago a Christian woman described how a young man had repeatedly asked her out on a date.  He wasn’t interested in spiritual matters and they had nothing in common but he kept on and on at her inviting her to this and that event.  Finally in exasperation the young man said “what on earth do you Christians do for fun?”    The woman replied, “for fun I get up in the morning without feeling embarrassed or ashamed about what I did the night before.”  Thinking about it years later, she was able to add, “for fun I am married to a fine Christian man, for fun I have a little girl and my husband and I are building a Christian home together.  I am thrilled at the fun my daughter is having – fun every day,living without the affliction of  having selfish materialistic parents.  Its fun looking forward to my husband coming home, knowing he wont be stopping off at the bar for a few drinks.  Its fun knowing that while he is away, his Christian conduct won’t allow infidelity.  Its fun watching him hold my daughter with loving protective arms.  The list of fun things is endless.”

True success and true greatness is measured in how a person has progressed in their faithfulness towards God and the rewards and fun that comes from this “greatness” are priceless!  We should all look at our lives through God’s eyes.  Only then will we discover if in reality we are a loser or a winner in God’s race of life.