This summer, my long time friend returned from college on his summer break.

We are both finishing out this school year; he has just completed his freshman year and I will be moving into my junior year.

It’s been a whole year since we’ve talked or hung out because of our crazy busy schedules.

So this week during the summer, we began catching up.

Within the first few moments of casual conversation, it immediately became clear that my friend had more fun than I did in my freshman and sophomore year combined!

He vacationed out-of-state with his buddies, worked a decent paying job, stayed out late and partied hard, but not so hard as to taint his Christian conscience. And his parents even bought him a new car and the boy can barely drive!

If you were listening to our conversation, you’d be able to tell that his college freshman experience was really exciting.

As for me, both my freshman and sophomore years were spent with the church youth group, Christmas parties, workshops, bible study etc. No particularly crazy stories to brag about.

As my friend was halfway through his story, I knew the only proper follow-up question he would ask me was, “So, what did you do this year?”…… (gimme a break)……

The enemy whispered in my ear, “It’s embarrassing to even try to top that. You sound so lame! Oh, you went on a mission trip this year? For how long, a week? Oooo… I’m so impressed.”

Double Check your Heart

In happy yet subtly competitive moments like these, an enthusiastic reunion can quickly turn sour. When chatting with friends who are just winning at life, while you’re barely able to pay the bills, it’s easy to feel defeated.

It’s easy to believe that the time and energy spent for God and His church really amounts to nothing, and we have missed out on life’s goodies.

But this is our flesh, the sinful side of our self who thinks that the grass is greener in someone else’s life.

Understand that when God is building you up, the enemy will try to tear you down.  

I don’t mean to criticize or judge my friend’s lifestyle, but if you weighed the conversation, he had an exceptional college experience, while I am barely figuring out what to do with my life.

Living and Loving the Redeemed Life!

During this critical time, the Lord reminded me:

1. That I am being transformed and renewed in the way I think and act (Romans 12: 1-2)

2. That I am living a life that is righteous before God, made possible through the sacrifice of his Son (Isaiah 26:7)

3. That I continuously flee the evil desires of youth and have been called to live a life that is pleasing to the Lord, not to man (2 Timothy 2:22, Galatians 1:10)

As I was driving home, I cried thinking about these truths as well as a friend of mines testimony. This friend of mine (not the one I was talking with), shared how God brought him out of the drug-street-party life and into His miraculous grace.

Not that I don’t have my own story, but remembering the story of the redeemed eclipsed those bitter thoughts and feelings with God’s mercy in full view.

There was a release!

I remembered the hymns lyrics that says, “He picked me up, and He turned me around, and placed my feet on the solid ground. Hallelujah! Hallelujah!”

Not the Same Anymore

After checking my voice mail, I saw that my friend called again to finish our conversation (we were cut short, darn signals).

The Lord prompted me this time not to mention my mission trip as a way to top my friend’s stories. Because it’s not what I’ve done in the past year, but it’s who I have become since then.

It’s Who I have been imitating and chasing after over the past 365 days of going to church, serving, fellowship, and reading my bible. 

In those uncomfortable moments chatting with the “winners” in life, don’t let the flesh or the enemy deceive you.

Time spent serving the Lord and pursuing a life of “righteousness, faith, love, and peace” is far more worth it than enjoying the spoils of life.

As a Christian walking with Christ, I have the privilege to live a radical life, like Paul; there is freedom in Christ to live a meaningful, satisfying life than trying to fit societies’ expectations.

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” Galatians 5:1

Operating inside the sobering knowledge of God’s will, 1 Thessalonians 4:7 and Romans 12:1 reminds us that “God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life”, a “living sacrifice” that is pleasing to Him and satisfying to us.

David said it best when he wrote:

“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” -Psalms 23;1