The world is in crisis today. It is not a political crisis, though it has political implications. It is not an economic crisis, though economics are affected. It is not a social crisis, though all levels of society are impacted. It is a spiritual crisis brought on by the people of God themselves. There is a spiritual poverty, a lack of vitality in the believer’s walk and talk that has led to mediocrity in the Christian world today. This mediocre life of the believer has left the Christian world with a muted witness and an emasculated impact on society. What is needed is a transformation in the Christian world. What is needed is a generation of believers who will live a radical life (radical in the eyes of the world, but not to God); a life that seeks the world to come, not this world.
The word “mediocre” finds its origin in two Latin words meaning “half way” and “mountain.” Mediocre means to only get half way up the mountain. A mediocre Christian life is one that begins its journey aiming for the top of the mountain, but then settles for only half way to the summit. What is needed today is a generation of young people who will decide to reach for the summit in the Christian life and settle for nothing less until they reach it. There will be no compromise along the way. There will be opportunities to bow out, to give in to the tide of the world, but this generation will set their face like a flint and go for broke. They will be satisfied with nothing less than God’s best—serving Him with their whole heart!
Hippolomy was a mythical, Greek young man who was in love with the beautiful Atlanta. Atlanta, in addition to her striking beauty, was also a gifted runner, but she had a cruel, sadistic character. Many young men became infatuated with her beauty and desired to marry her. These men were challenged to a foot race with two conditions. If the man won the race, he could marry Atlanta. But if he lost, he would pay with his life. Many a man tried and paid the ultimate price for his second place finish.
Hippolomy also became mesmerized by Atlanta’s beauty and challenged her to a race. Shortly after the race began he fell behind. Reaching into his tunic, he withdrew a golden apple and threw it in front of the streaking Atlanta. The flash of gold caught her eye and she stopped to pick up the golden fruit as Hippolomy raced by. She soon recovered and again moved ahead of him. Hippolomy pulled a second golden apple from his tunic and threw it in front of Atlanta who once again stopped to pick it up. As Hippolomy passed the crouching Atlanta, she realized that the race was nearing the finish, and she recovered soon enough to regain a comfortable lead with a short distance to go.
Hippolomy retrieved the last of his golden apples from his tunic and threw it ahead of Atlanta as she approached the finish. Atlanta was in a quandary; should she stop and pick up the apple or press for the finish line She reasoned that she certainly could do both, so she stopped to place the golden fruit in her robe just as Hippolomy raced passed her towards the finish. She recovered, but now with such a short distance to the finish line, she was not able to beat him. Hippolomy had won!
This is not an illustration on how to find a life partner! Rather, as we race through life, we will find the enemy of our souls rolling “golden apples” of opportunity, compromise, and temptation in our path. These golden fruits will be attractive, and we will be tempted to believe that they will not impact our life’s race. We will think that we can have it all and still finish well. It will only be near the end of our life’s race that we’ll find that we can’t reach the finish, the summit, God’s best, because we chose to stop our race along the way. We thought it was only for a moment, that no one would know or care, but a moment’s compromise will lead to a mediocre, half way life.
What the world needs today is a new generation of believers who will say “no” to this world’s values and live for the unseen world promised by Christ. The reality of heaven will so impact the lives of this generation that they will not compromise or settle for anything less that than God’s best for themselves and those around them. They will give themselves unreservedly to Christ–a generation whose watchword will be, “Anything, anywhere, anytime–for Christ!”
Living for the World to Come Copyright 1996 by Thomas R. Yeakley pg 1