It may be an understatement that our culture is consumed with competition today. Competition may be fueled by sport and is found in various segments of business also. Sadly, it exists between church fellowships.

In a world where bigger is too often considered better, the drive to win or be on top often prevails. And for good reason, no one likes losing. No one welcomes the agony of defeat. So, we work harder instead of smarter. We stay longer and longer as our lives grow shorter and shorter. And life, our life becomes so consumed with doing that we forget the importance of being. We forget about being like the One who loves us and has given us the opportunity to live.

When we substitute doing for being, we forget the importance of giving preference to others. We dismiss the need to love those who hate us or refuse to help us. We forget to forgive. We forget to be gentle, gracious, and kind. We forget that others should be treated as we would want to be treated. We forget what we should remember, and we remember what we should forget. It is a formula for experiencing a life of defeat.

God's word reminds us to be diligent in pursuing what really matters in life. And what really matters in life is sourced in a relationship with Christ. When I forget that, I will live in defeat.

I don't have to. I choose to.

It is amazing how much effort we exert to win in the world and how little we put forth to experience victory in Jesus!

Spiritual defeat doesn't necessarily mean that you and I won't experience the thrill of winning the tournament championship or the winning bid in business or seeing the crowd grow at church. It means that what matters most is missed in the distraction.

And distractions from life (especially when life is difficult, depressing, dark or discouraging), are embraced to numb the pain or fill the emptiness of God's presence. In the process of moving away from God, we settle for defeat. And too quickly we become satisfied with it!

You and I don't have to be underwater in overt wickedness to feel defeated in our soul. As Billy Graham once said, "A good dose of laziness will accomplish the same thing." Laziness in our desire to walk with God. Laziness in our desire to worship God. Laziness in our desire to witness for Christ. All those lead to a life of defeat.

Don't be a 'lazy-lifer'. I know it easier to just 'go with it' but that approach to life results in no purpose, no direction, no reason, and no joy in living.

We don't have to do everything that this world offers, especially if it robs us of what needs to matter more. We don't need everything there is to own in this world, especially if it robs us of what must come to matter more. We don't need to have seven things to do at church every week if it robs us of the one thing that matters most: fellowship with our Lord and Savior.

In 'the climb' to be on top of everything, be mindful of one thing; make sure the ladder you are climbing is leaning against the right wall. It would be disheartening (to say the least), to realize after life is finished that in our exhausting pursuit to win at everything, we lost the one thing that mattered most: victory in Jesus!

Be diligent! Pursue excellence with endurance in your opportunities to follow Christ!

Pstr K

Jeremiah 29:11