Survival. It’s a word that denotes a victory in the face of difficult odds. Surviving requires strength. It takes effort and focuses to survive. If and when we survive circumstances, were said to have overcome them. Surviving means having beaten death itself. Our loved ones have to survive if they are to return home from war. Both they and survivors of illness or attack are often seen as heroes. There is quite a big positivity, joy, and celebration linked with the idea of survival.
But surviving has another side. Surviving is also what we are doing when we are just getting my life. Surviving describes us when we are living paycheck to paycheck. When you work at a job that brings you little to no joy, you’re surviving. When a young black male has been raised in a violent urban setting and reaches the age of 18, he has been deemed a survivor in the eyes of his community. Your marriage is surviving when you and your spouse are keeping it together for the kid’s sake and not because you love or care for one another. So maybe we should be cautious about becoming comfortable with the idea of survival since it basically means denying death and nothing more. Surviving is wonderful when it is how we respond to a season or atrial in our lives. Not so much when it becomes how we operate in our daily subsistence.
In contrast, living is something more than survival. Living focuses not on reading just beyond death, but on going much farther. In order to live, we must pay attention to being, doing, developing, and advancing at some level. It is a higher plane of existence and survival, but it too can become a limiting mindset. Living life to the fullest can be problematic for a believer inChristwhen we overlook the scriptural instructions and expectations we’ve been given and seek self-gratification by living a full life. Living a full life is commendable, but it can be a trap for mediocrity. Settling for just above-average, going through the motions, and watching our lives unfold without consistently seeking to be a part of God’s grand plan and walking in our unique purpose is also a way of life we should be cautious of adopting. Similarly, reaching the highest heights and gaining material possessions and accolades are also problematic when they are not done as a part of the kingdom’s agenda.
The world we occupy is constantly bombarding us with messages of mediocrity and reminders of our human limitations. It can be discouraging and surviving can become a comfortable state in the midst of that discouragement. The world also gives us a constant barrage of materialism and marketing messages that push us to spend money we don’t have on things we don’t need that we can look and feel as though we are living. But we are not to be of this world! Moreover, we were given dominion over this world. The Bible teaches that Jesus came so that we can have eternal life through him and that we may know with assurance that we have that life. He also warns against being mediocre and settling for less than a Life that Thrives.
Christ came so that we would overcome the world. He told us that we would do great things(John 14:12). But in order to thrive, we need to be “all in” and abide in him and not rely on our own strength and creativity(John 15:5).
Surviving. Living. Thriving. All three can lead to the continued existence and will eventuate at the end thereof. The quality of our voyage between life on earth and life eternal is determined by how well you respond to the call of God. Surviving is commendable in the right context. Living is fun and has its rewards. Thriving is the way you live your life when you accept that God sent His only begotten Son not only to extend eternal life to you but also to allow you to create a life and a legacy here on earth beyond that which you could possibly imagine.