I was feeling a little retro the other day, so I pulled out some earrings that once belonged to my grandma. Very fun earrings, BUT they are clip-ons. Tight clip-ons. When I first put them on, my ears began to scream in pain. I knew that it was going to be a sacrifice if I was going to wear them. The fashion outweighed the pain (for a few hours at least).
Just as fashion can involve pain and sacrifice, being a Christ-follower often involves sacrifice and pain. I can readily list what I sacrifice. Unfortunately, my list of what I sacrifice often overshadows why I'm making the sacrifice. I get so caught up in my list of what I give up or must endure that I lose sight of the reason.
As athletes train, they sacrifice and endure pain because they have a goal in mind. As Christians Paul encourages us with comparisons to athletes: "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever." 1 Corinthians 9:24-25
If I only focus on the sacrifice, I lose sight of the prize and will most likely never make it. That's a sobering thought.
How do I focus on the right thing? Again, referring to Paul: "Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:13-14
I must make the conscious decision to focus on the prize rather than all the sacrifice. If I can endure my ears being squashed for the sake of fashion, I would hope that I can endure sacrifice for the sake of Christ.