The U.S. Military does not settle for second best. Pushing ourselves physically and mentally, we utilize advances in technology to be the most powerful military in the world. Committed to training, we conduct exercises despite the high cost and personal sacrifices we must make. Taking pride in all our efforts, we don’t settle for second best.
Why is it that we settle for second best in our personal lives? You can call it shallow living or complacency, but at its root is a willingness to settle for a life that is not what it could or even should be. The military offers us power, prestige, and pleasure in serving but those concepts don’t always transfer to our personal lives. It all stems from a misunderstanding of those three “P” words.
Power is the ability to exert your will over others. It is a capability to act when, where, and how you want to gain battlefield dominance. Unfortunately, we misuse power in our personal lives when we pursue higher rank for the wrong reasons, when we manipulate our families through feelings and guilt trips, and when we focus on repetitive tasks while ignoring the deeper issues of what makes us anxious or upset.
Prestige is the sense of pride we feel from a job well done. It is the recognition we receive for a commitment to excellence. But we settle for shallow prestige when we take credit for work that is not our own, when we dominate conversations with all our accomplishments, or when we pursue tasks or jobs that receive greater accolades and rewards.
Pleasure is a feeling of satisfaction and enjoyment. It is found in marriage and family relationships, success at work, great vacations, and maybe even in time alone with a good book. We find pleasure in people, places, and things, but it can quickly degenerate into obsession with people, places, and things.
Through the Lens of God
God provides us with a better understanding of the three “P” words. Great power is found when we depend on Him.
Paul tells us that power is perfected in weakness and that we can do all things, including be content with our circumstances, when we have a solid relationship with Christ (2 Corinthians 12:9, Philippians 4:13). He also gives us power through His Spirit so that we have strength to take on the daily challenges we face (Ephesians 3:16).
God provides us prestige when we reflect his glory. It is like joining a renowned unit that is recognized for gallantry and great accomplishments. The unit patch becomes a symbol of our commitment to continue the great tradition of that unit. Paul tells us that when we profess faith in Christ, we join God’s “unit” and “gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 2:14). He adds that we are being transformed into the same glory that Christ received (2 Corinthians 3:18). Caution! This path to glory deters and discourages many because the glory is found through suffering (Romans 8:17).
Finally, God provides us with the greatest pleasure through a relationship with Him. He promises pleasures forever when we follow His will (Psalm 116:11). God works in us so that we may experience His pleasure (Philippians 2:13). He does want us to enjoy the things of this world and supplies us with those very things (1 Timothy 6:17), but He also wants us to remember our ultimate and lasting joy comes through a sustained and thriving relationship with Him (John 15:11).
Is your life shallow? Are you settling for second best in your personal life? Join God’s unit today and find a deeper sense of power, prestige, and pleasure.