Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Built to Last

Training the body helps a little, but godly living helps in every way. Godly living has the promise of life now and in the world to come.

-- 1 Timothy 4:8

Long before Lexus, Acura, and Infiniti began to dominate American highways, Mercedes-Benz was the leading brand of imported luxury automobiles. They were – and still are – relatively expensive when compared to your run-of-the-mill Chevy, Toyota or Honda. And with some Mercedes sedans starting at around $40,000, these expertly-engineered vehicles are out of reach for most drivers. But for those who can afford them, their technological excellence is just the point. They do cost a lot. But they’re built to last.

One way Mercedes-Benz builds a reputation for excellence is through its High Mileage Award. First introduced in the 1960s, this citation recognizes those Mercedes-Benz vehicles confirmed as literally going the distance by reaching the 250,000, 500,000, 750,000 and 1 million-kilometer marks. Proud owners are quick to attach the award’s iconic Star and Laurel radiator grill badges to their automobiles.

Like expensive, well-engineered vehicles, Christ-followers are also made to endure long journeys on roads that are rarely straight or smooth. But our journeys are those meant to test and grow our faith, and ultimately take us to our eternal destination.

The Bible tells us that those who have accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior can expect their fair share of bumpy roads with unsettling hairpin turns. In fact, they can count on it. Maybe it's a layoff at work, an illness in the family or an unanticipated budget-busting expense. Whatever it is, we can respond by either giving up or by depending on our faith in God to see us through. Real faith will remain strong to the end. But what's false is bound to fail.

Thankfully, life’s not always about dodging potholes and head-on traffic. So while we’re traveling on our individual journeys, we need to take time to enjoy the ride God has given us and ask Him for the wisdom to do His will along the way. And of course, we need to focus on the prize. Not a shiny metal badge adorning a radiator grill – but the crown of life that awaits us when we cross the finish line. “Well done, good and faithful servant” are the incredible words every Christ-follower should long to hear that day from their Creator.

So are you spiritually fit for the long haul? The Apostle Paul had his own perspective.

“Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training,” he explains in 1 Corinthians. “They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.”

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