Like with all people, I have some mornings that are better than others. This morning was not a good morning.
I arrived at school soaking wet and in a general state of discontentment. A lot of things, I felt, were not going my way. Already I had managed to drop two expensive lattes that I had been trying to balance on the handle of my bicycle as I rode to school in torrential rain (don’t ask!).
Still fuming, wet and craving the hot latte I could no longer enjoy because it was smashed on the pavement; I sat down at the computer and had a quick glance over my Facebook notifications. On this particular day it seemed like everyone looked better and was more successful than me, posting loudly about how they had the jobs and bodies of their dreams.
The green-eyed monster of jealousy began to rear her ugly head within my heart.
As I leaned back in my chair and sighed, I began to reflect upon my own situation. Though studying at Four Seas was certainly a dream come true for me, I really enjoyed what I was doing before I moved half-way across the world to work with my missionary husband – working in a gym as a personal trainer. Sometimes I really miss it. I was really missing it this morning. I wanted to go back, train people, and focus on getting stronger and leaner every day.
Then, my memory slapped me back into reality as I recalled this verse:
“For bodily exercise profits little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come” (1 Timothy 4:8)
This had always been my mantra, but I suppose it never really hit home. I never really took it on board. Now, the verse cut me to the heart.
I had forgotten to keep my priorities straight.
As I continued to reflect upon this verse and my self-pitying thoughts, I realized that I was wishing for was something that was inferior to what I was working to gain at Bible college. I was wishing that I could go back and focus on my bodily exercise. I was cultivating a heart of discontent for my current situation – one in which I was working on my godliness.
The world would not agree with me in thinking that what I am currently doing is more worthwhile. In fact, every day there are advertisements, Facebook posts, and comments from friends telling me I should not be satisfied with my situation – telling me that feeling good, looking hot, and grabbing attention are the most worthwhile things in life to pursue.
The fact is that God’s view of things will often seem ridiculous to those who are focused on earthly things (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:18-25), and mankind has always had an issue with focusing on the outward appearance rather than their character. For a while I fell into that trap; the trap of pursuing physical gains to the neglect of the spiritual. For a day I was in danger of slipping back again, because I had forgotten to consider the end of these things.
When I consider the end of focusing on these physical things I see that they are not worth anything because they are corruptible (decaying; not-continual):
- Any glory I gain in attention to my earthly body and its abilities is corruptible – but striving to keep myself under control will gain me an incorruptible crown (1 Corinthians 9:24-27).
- The focus of my life should not that of enhancing my appearance with corruptible things, but rather the “ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price” (1 Peter 3:4).
- No matter how healthy I keep myself, one day I will die and my corruptible body of flesh will rot. No one will care how much weight Chantelle Swayne could lift in 100 years time. In that Great Day, however, if I have been faithful, I will have victory over death and be given an incorruptible, immortal body that will give me glory for an eternity (1 Corinthians 15:52-54).
In the end, the strengthening of our bodies will not result in our salvation. The only way I can hope to see my Christ in glory is to focus on that part of me that is made in the image of God and will go back to God. I need to make sure my soul is ready for eternity (cf. Genesis 1:26, 27).
Does the pursuit of godliness really have “a promise of the life that now is” as Paul said (1 Timothy 4:8)? Most definitely.
As a result of switching my priorities, I have a better relationship with both my husband and my Lord. God certainly blesses His people abundantly (1 Timothy 4:8b; cf. John 10:10; James 1:17; Matthew 6:22; et. al.). Whenever my mind is in a state of peace and contentment, it is always a result of having my mind set and focused on the right things.
Also, the more I study and the more I work on trying to fashion myself after the image of Christ and make my “calling and election sure,” the more I look forward to “an entrance [being] ministered unto [me] abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:10, 11).
I look forward to the promise of that life that is to come (1 Timothy 4:8c).
Reshuffling your priorities is so worth it – here and in the hereafter. I certainly do not claim perfection, but I am working on it.
So, where do your priorities lie? Are you chasing crowns, or corruption?