Monday, June 27th. Short-Sighted
There is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing. 2 Timothy 4:8
As Paul sensed his day of judgment approaching, he faced it with a reckless boldness. He seemed to look forward to death, as the goal of his life was not to fill his own desires but to know Christ. In death, Paul would have that which he desired most. Paul did not have a death wish. He wished to live his life in obedience to God, but at the end, he embraced the infinite.
That perspective seems alien to me. I have a hard time keeping goals that are a week away. I do of course, have long term goals but I also an appetite for instant gratification. I want to do right, just not right now (Blind Pilot song). I have two appetites. I want to be in good shape tomorrow, but I also want to sit on the couch and eat pizza today.
This is an apt metaphor for the conflict between our spirit life and our flesh life. The spirit life, which we are born again into, sees the long game. It knows that we should spend our time and efforts on that which will truly matter in 10 years (or 100 years). Our flesh life insists that true pleasure is found in whatever feels good right now. My spirit life says I should spend the energy of my life on knowing God and sharing that with others. I should work for the eternal. My flesh life says I should make money, buy stuff, and eat donuts as much as possible.
Donuts and money may not be evil in themselves, but if that is the goal of my life, I have fallen prey to the lust of the flesh and am destructively short-sighted. Like the marathon runner, I need to choose daily, to have the long-term perspective. If I want to run 26 miles in 6 months, I need to string together 180 days of effort towards that goal. I may have to forgo the immediate pleasure of pizza and donuts for that which I really want. Only then in the end, will I attain that which I truly desire.
We have two sets of desires. One provides immediate gratification while destroying our long-term goals. The other, while requiring payment now, sees the long game and works toward that which truly matters (providing lasting pleasure). Today, I will choose to focus on the long game. I will choose God and the infinite over self and the immediate.