Victory Crown

It's the second half of the year. How are we going? Have we sailed smoothly in the journey amidst the changes that come our way? Have we planted seeds in what we do so that bountiful harvest springs up when the season comes? Have we shown much character and depth to extend grace to others? Have we modeled a life that flows in the hope of the Lord whatever circumstances we face?

If we did, then good. Continue on. If not, then there's still the second half. We can end it right. And as I think of this, I think of the long-term run. It's the race of faith for the eternal prize we're called with. It's scary if we don't make our lives matter and eventually suffer a lifetime cost. We don't want that to happen to us.

Every day, we always live out our lives by dying to our sin, resisting temptation and choosing His will. It's tough enduring, but it's what we can do to shine our lives for Him. As time goes by, I believe that we should always be reminded of why we're into this race. We need to be grounded with who we are and what we're doing here in this world in order to maintain our focus.

And I see three points that sum up the life we're in now. So here are they:

1. Purpose
We all have our stories of how we came to the Lord. Some of us decided to follow Him out of an open heart, soul, and spirit. Some of us came from a dark moment in life, leading to a life-changing encounter with Him. Or some of us have questioned Biblical scriptures as support for the authenticity of His existence and were able to receive the revelation well. No matter what it is, we know that our faith is planted in Him.

We understand that only the sacrificial love that was shown at the cross can we be back again with Him. And making the decision to reconcile with God turns our hearts from empty to become contented, peaceful and free. He lives in us. He loves us so much that He did everything at all costs so that we can be home again with Him. Through Him, we now have a reason for living.

We also understand that the main lead in our lives is Jesus, not us. It's more of Him, and less of ourselves. The things of this world don't matter to us, for we know it's only Him who satisfies. No matter what sickness, depression, despair, addiction, loneliness, anger, unhappiness or trouble in this world we face, we can confidently combat them with Him on our side.

And we understand that we have something to restore. So we serve Him and those around us with by utilizing the unique talents and resources He gave us. Whatever we started, we continue on. And we finish this faithfully all the way to the end.

2. Destiny
We're given a destiny unique from the rest. But an established life mark isn't made easy. A person who cements a great victory in life starts with being faithful to the small things. Even if it's considered lowly, he chooses to go through it. And we see the fruits of their labor paying off. This gives a thought that we sometimes forget to view everyday life as a training ground for greatness. We must never forget to do well with what God has already given us. We'll never know where we're led to for that.

As normal as life is, we always face our own giants. And it's important to show up no matter what. Showing up in the small things is what prepares us to show up when we face the greater pressures of the battlefield and the throne room. We can either run away from them or fight them.

If we don't show up to battle, we hinder our ability to walk in our destiny. We leave undefeated giants in our lives and in the world. But we're meant to be giant slayers. We're more than conquerors. We're warriors for Him. And His Kingdom is filled with a vast army of giant slayers.

It's tiring to see giants rule in people's lives and circumstances, and even in parts of our world. But even if we don't feel capable, we know the grace of God in our lives makes us capable to face every battle. Every day is a choice to show up in every aspect of our lives, to live intentionally and faithfully. It would be better if we do.

3. Martyrdom
In our modern culture, we don't get to experience this important core of our walk with Him. We're taught to turn away from any kind of pain. But as His followers, it's what's expected. Persecution still exists to those who are gripped in the faith. And if we choose to not endure it, it would be a big shame to those who laid down their lives for the faith to grow and rise up.

Martyrdom is never the way of self-will or fighting but it is a release and submitting one's self to the will of God. No one can display it best but Jesus. He knew how He'll spend his last days of ministry on Earth. But He was quiet, still, not fighting for His way. He accepted betrayal. He did not fight or hide. In spite of the suffering, He accepted it with godly silence. He responded His persecutors by loving and blessing them. He kept Himself in humility.

The early believers carried on. They viewed martyrdom as a great competition and striving to endure to the end as a conqueror. They considered this as a holy battle, a spiritual warfare at its height. We hear accounts of them facing death through crucifixion, stoning, and torture. And in their suffering, they blessed the world. Their martyrdom kept the world attracted to the faith. What an outstanding ground of Christianity!

Knowing these makes me see that this is no turning back. This is the way. And it's my hope that for all of our days, we study the Word, connect in prayer, share His love by example, live in worship, fellowship with believers, and serve Him wholeheartedly in holiness and purity. I would love to meet everyone at the finishing line receiving the victory crown. From today, we keep on fighting.