It has been an interesting summer thus far. I've encountered a number of emotional bumps, several trials and more than my fair share of temptations. The temptations have been minor, the emotional bumps have been severe at times and the trials, well, they've been tough. But in all of this, I continue to realize an important fact: the end is the journey. How we manage the emotions, temptations and trials is just as important as the end they bring.
As human beings in a Western culture, we are taught to aspire to great things: education, status, power and even wealth. As Christians in a Western culture, this cultural imperative sends conflicting messages: on the one hand, we are taught by some theological perspectives that God wants to bless us through our obedience; on the other hand, we are taught that the trappings of status, power and wealth are simply that - a trap. In the end, the pursuit of those things don't bring happiness and stability. So now - as Christians - we are confused... what do we do? What should our end goal be? How should we navigate life?
Well, the truth is, what we do here and now dictates how we will "end up." As Christians, our Spirit-infused character is the key to the joy of life.
Lately, I've encountered people who have the material goods of life and the means to enjoy it; yet they don't live in "joy." Their lives tend to be driven by the 'stuff' or 'status' they desire or have inherited... thus the daily events and joys of real life are lost on them; or better, for some of them, their situation has trapped them in a loop from which they cannot find release - thus they can see the possibility of joy, but it eludes them. It brings me great sadness to witness these scenes.
Please don't think me arrogant or impartial at this point: I'm as guilty as anyone else. I want the stuff and the status too. Indeed, I blog these thoughts in order to better understand myself in light of the life that Christ desires for me. I want the joy of living and I want to find my way, the way that will bring me the life and joy Christ desires for me.
So here is my nugget of truth today: the well-lived life is not found in the what, but in the how. It is not 'what' we accumulate - education, status, power or wealth; but in 'how' we live. The small decisions - the character choices - we make in and for our lives every day. That is how we find our way and that is how we garner the joy of living.