Here's a thought.
It seems to me that in every area of our lives we are either winning, losing, or not even in the game.
An example: Wellness
I find that I'm either eating brilliantly and working out every day (winning).
Or binge-stuffing chocolate-covered potato chips while lying face down on the couch (losing).
Or, I mindlessly eat whatever's around, and take the stairs instead of the elevator only if they happen to be closer (not even in the game).
Another example: Finances
I'm either clipping coupons and monitoring mutual funds (winning).
Or spending money with hearty abandon (losing).
Or, I go weeks on end without thinking about cashflow in any way (not in the game).
As I type these examples I begin to notice that "losing" and "not in the game" look quite similar.
I suppose that's because "not in the game" is really just "losing" with no interest in the outcome. When you're losing you hate the fact that you're losing. When you're out of the game you couldn't care less.
Winning = awareness + success
Losing = awareness + failure
Not in the Game = no awareness + no interest
Now, why do I bother thinking all this out loud?
I've been feeling kind of discouraged recently. I know I haven't been walking much in the Spirit or maintaining a spiritual mind. I haven't been praying like I need to, or feeling much interest in the things of God. And because of my failure in this area, nothing else in my life seems very interesting or meaningful.
As I mulled these thoughts over the other day, a very clear message popped into my head: "You know exactly what the problem is and how to fix it. But you're not doing it. You are losing the battle for your mind."
And all of a sudden I felt even worse.
I was losing!
Therefore, I was a loser.
I wanted to win, but the opposite was reality.
But just as quickly as that thought came and faded away, a realization took its place.
I suddenly recalled all the many years when spiritual-mindedness wasn't even a part of my life. I was worse off then, in those days when I was my own boss and my thoughts never rose higher than the top of my hair, but I felt just fine.
At that point, I stopped and gave thanks.
The stuff above, about winning & losing & not in the game, had all become clear to me.
Today I'm in the game.
I care. I strive.
I rejoice when I'm winning, and I agonize when I'm losing.
And I'm no longer blind, mute, dumb and numb.
I may be having a bad month, but even this is so much better than being out of it altogether.
And all this led me ultimately to the question I pose here today: How many Christians are out there who don't know or care about the "game"? Who just go to church on Sundays (or only on holidays) and barely think about the new life they've been given? How many Christians just live their earthly lives entirely content with whatever's in front of them and never even realize that a life lived merely in the world is a dark prison with big TVs and no locks?