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Red Hot Read - A Firestorm for Your Mind » The Point (of Life)

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Controversial and Thought-Provoking Articles for the Savvy Christian

The Point (of Life)

Posted By Denise Miller Holmes on Friday

Savvy Article #1001

If you are one of those hypie types that get’s a glow from setting and reaching goals, if you have listened to every Tony Robbins tape, and if you believe wholeheartedly that writing down your goals with a time limit MAKES them happen, I’m about to burst your bubble.

After much failure and delayed gratification, I have learned that …Our character is more important to God than reaching our goals, and He will allow us to be frustrated and in pain in order to shape our character.

And, like the song says, it’s about the climb, not the destination.

Ouch!

I used to be Type A, and I loved setting and reaching goals. What a high. But in college, I started to fail. My life didn’t fit me. Something was wrong. It took me awhile to adjust.

Now, I thank God for my earlier failures. I learned a hard lesson. You might anticipate that I learned perseverance—to be the little engine that could. Yes, I learned that, but, more importantly, I learned … the point of life is NOT success.

At first, I could hardly believe it, but God just kept hitting me over the head with a two-by-four engraved with that message. Eventually, it sank in.

What the point really is becomes evident when you combine the next few Bible verses:

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4 (NASB)

Couple the above verse with Romans 8:28, and THE POINT begins to emerge.

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (NASB)

So far, so good. Things working for good. I can get with that. But then there is the punch line in verse 29:

For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; . . . (NASB)

Now see … the James and Romans verses are not “when God closes a door, He opens a window” verses. The big payoff that God promises is internal, not external in our circumstance.

When I first discovered this, it felt like bad news.

I, like most people, like my short-term hits of happiness (See Lust For Rewards: My “Cocaine” Habit). Apparently, ultimately, becoming like Christ makes us happy (lacking in nothing). And that’s the point!

Crud. I wanted this to be easy.

As time has marched on, I have accepted the battle of life, the climb, but I haven’t gotten to the place where I adore it.

I want to be like Christ, but, in my emotions, I feel the pain and would like “becoming like Christ” to happen by osmosis, while I am having fun working at something I love; enjoying an in-demand speaking career; or experiencing those small, personal successes that consistently warm my soul. And I want this NOW.

All this said, I do not believe that God is out to make us frustrated losers. But even if you are as successful as Donald Trump, it doesn’t change the fact that success is not the point! Even within success, there are struggles.

To live through these struggles, remember that each battle, no matter how small, has the potential to grow our character, heal our wounds, and help us rise above our faults. Every one.

Ultimately, our struggles bring a long-lasting happiness that ease cannot.

This is true. It’s about becoming like Christ. It’s about the climb.

See Miley Cyrus sing The Climb

See the opposite philosophy in this Tony Robbins video. :)


About The Author

Denise Miller Holmes
Denise Miller Holmes enjoys teaching biblical topics, and especially researching and communicating what Christians believe about the world around them. She sometimes turns established viewpoints on end. A graduate of the University of Southern California School of Journalism, Denise also has a Masters degree in Counseling Psychology, and has been a Christian for over 35 years. She belongs to the writers’ groups Words for the Journey and American Christian Fiction Writers.

Comments

17 Responses to “The Point (of Life)”

  1. needmorewordscs says:

    Denise,
    I found this and I think it fits with what you wrote: “When people go through suffering, their lives are often transformed, deepened, marked with beauty and holiness in remarkable ways that could never have been anticipated before the suffering.”
    We get better and better but many times the process is painful when we cling with our fingernails to the things God wants us to release.
    Hope to see you on Tuesday.
    Diane

  2. Denise Miller Holmes says:

    Thanks Diane for that great quote. I could have just posted that and been done with it. :) You will see me Tuesday!

  3. Great post, Denise! It’s so easy to focus on the outcome instead of trying to enjoy the journey. You will never experience success without struggles. And success also brings more struggles. Different struggles. I often think about this in the world of publishing. Published authors don’t have it easy. I may be getting rejected by editors, but once you’re published, you’re opening yourself up to the whole world for criticism. And there are more expectations about what you should be writing, how often you should be writing. This has led me to really enjoy my time as an unpublished, rejected, unsuccessful writer. ;-)

  4. Denise Miller Holmes says:

    Sara, good point. I have come to the conclusion that life keeps giving you battles, and when I tell myself I will be happy when … I am lying to myself. I need to learn to be happy now, fighting today’s battles.

  5. Tonya says:

    Loved your post, Denise. I was/am a Type A person. With my illness virtually stopping my life as I knew it, I dealt with a lot of disappointment. But as I am living for today, not tomorrow, or the failures of yesterday, my life has become more manageable. This all really started when the Lord asked me to look up the word journey. I was a check it off my list kind of gal. Destination minded. But God showed me that journey means of the day. (Its french) It what we do with the day we have been given that defines success not how many awards, accolades or anything list of accomplishments.

    I look forward to reading more of your blog! Thanks for stopping by In the Garden!

  6. Denise Miller Holmes says:

    Tonya: Interesting factoid…that the word journey means “of the day.” You have wise observations. I look forward to coming to In the Garden more and experiencing your beautiful photography.

  7. Danica says:

    Great thoughts Denise. You’re right about making sure you take the time to enjoy the journey and to focus on the inward. Sometimes our goals are so based on the outside results that we forget to work on the internal. God is definitely more interested in our hearts than our accomplishments.

  8. Joanna says:

    Timely post, as I am making a list of goals I would like to accomplish. The key though is giving those plans to the Lord and following His path. The climb is where we stretch and use muscles. It’s also where we may be called upon to use tools (experiences) from the past. To be like Christ is to look at how He lived – and died. He prepared a lifetime for His purpose – with three years ministering to people. Saving mankind was not an easy task as He had to die an unbearable death. But His “success” (dying for us and being raised from the dead) has brought us healing, character, and the ability to “rise above our faults.” Great post!

  9. Denise Miller Holmes says:

    Danica: You are a busy woman, so you know from where you speak. Our tasks can take us away from looking inward.
    Jo: Yes, our goals must be given to Christ. Submitting to His timing is so hard! Interesting that Christ’s success came through sacrifice.

  10. The more I communicate with other writers, the more I see the struggle never ends. If we desire to come to a place where there are no challenges, we’ll have to wait until we get to heaven. Scripture says that in this world we’ll have trouble. It goes with the territory.

    I’m thankful for all the many wonderful promises of God that says He’ll be with us through it all.

    Blessings,
    Susan

  11. Denise Miller Holmes says:

    Hey Susan. You’re right. I used to wait to “arrive.” It ain’t gonna happen. :D

  12. Kay Day says:

    I don’t have an ounce of type A in me. But I do want to be like Jesus NOW. This being transformed part hurts. I’m not real patient about it all, but that’s part of the journey–learning patience.

  13. Jan Parrish says:

    Timely post. Hard to read right now, but timely.

  14. Denise Miller Holmes says:

    Kay: True. You don’t have to be Type A to know that life is hard and becoming like Christ takes time. I think He’s done a pretty good job of making you like Him. :D
    Jan: I am so sorry for the pain you’re going through right now. I think of you often. All I can tell you is keep on keepin’ on and someday this will makes sense. (You know I pray for you too, right?)

  15. Sue says:

    Denise, I love this post. I’m a student of the lessons you explain here. I love setting goals, but have also found the joy of the journey and the purpose of the journey is not necessarily to reach the goal. Even though I’ve figured some of it out, I love to be encouraged about it again! Too often I slip back into the maze and start running for the cheese.
    I’m so glad to hear that I’m not the only post-teen women who enjoys Miley’s song!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog because it brought me back here :)
    Sue

  16. Robbie Iobst says:

    Denise, you Jesus-like Yoda! So true and insightful. I love this quote by YOU: “Our character is more important to God than reaching our goals, and He will allow us to be frustrated and in pain in order to shape our character.” Amen!

  17. Sue: I love the metaphor of running for the cheese. I thought of using “hamster on a treadmill.” Yes, Miley has a wide appeal. I used to think she was wise beyond her years, but it’s her songwriters, methinks, that have all the wisdom :)
    Robbie: Thank you for the compliment. I’ve seen some pretty Yoda-like statements from you, too. Lots of gutsy wisdom on Joy Dance (and pictures of sores). See you Tuesday.

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