Prizing the Prize
Scripture Reading — Philippians 3:10-16
Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Romans 12:11 —
"The things of religion," writes Jonathan Edwards, "are so great that there can be no suitableness in the exercises of our hearts unless they be lively and powerful. In nothing is vigor [in our desires and behavior so required] as in [the Christian] religion and in nothing is lukewarmness so odious"-or odorous (as William Shakespeare punned in his comedy Much Ado About Nothing). Either way-"odious" or "odorous"-lukewarmness of faith stinks!
Let me offer a basic principle of life: what we prize, we praise; and what we praise, we prize all the more. Prizing affects our actions of praising; praising affects our attitude of prizing. The more we prize something, the more our actions change and increase; as our actions increase, our attitude toward what we prize deepens. If we will behave this way about anyone or anything we love-performer, athlete, team, author, automobile, technology, furniture, whatever-then we might think we should behave this way about the Lord, who is superior to all and greater than all things. But to any extent that we do not, our lack of fervor stinks-to high heaven!
"We are nothing if we are not earnest about our faith and if our wills and inclinations are not intensely exercised," says Edwards. "The religious life contains things too great for us to be lukewarm."
"Once earthly joy I craved . . . now thee alone I seek. This all my prayer shall be: more love, O Christ, to thee, more love to thee, more love to thee!" In your name, Amen.