Most of the time, if not all of the time, people want to take the easy way to success or whatever the goal may be. We want the grade without taking the necessary time to study. We want to quit and change direction when the path gets dark and uncertain. We want the championship without the 3-hour practices and exhausting conditioning drills. We want all the success and none of the challenges that come along with it. We want the love and security of Jesus without having to show it to Him or anyone in return. We want to be a part of the Kingdom without having to suffer for it and the King. This is a lazy and faithless mentality that I am sure many of us can relate to.
No one should expect to have a challenge, struggle-free life. Jesus, the Son of God himself, told us “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). We have been warned that we will struggle in this world. But the struggle should not be the object of our attention, the love that God showed us. I love what N.T. Wright says towards the end of today’s devotional reading about forgiveness. He calls it “the name of the game.” Forgiveness is not a feature of God’s Kingdom, but it is a foundational act of God’s Kingdom. God saved us by forgiving us for all sins and taking our place on the cross. If the Almighty God has forgiven our sins, what valid reason do we have then to hold a grudge against one another? There is none. In Ephesians 4:1 the Apostle Paul writes, “As a prisoner for the Lord, then I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you received.” We have been called to love each other as Christ loved us. That’s the name of the game.