The Christian always is on the short end of the stick. All right, that is probably a false statement. It might be better to say that the Christians SEEMS to be on the short end of the stick. You might have found this to be the case. At work, you do what you are supposed to do. You are faithful in your work. You are on time day after day. You get most things done on time and very seldom seem to cause any problems for the company. Your work is exemplary. And when it comes time for advancement and/or raises, the person who is a "crummy" worker gets the position, gets the raise, gets the accolades from the upper management - and it isn't fair!
Or you are single. You are a good person. You know how God wants you to treat the person of the opposite sex. You are a gentleman or a lady. You don't get involved in the sexual side of things. You know that the Lord wants you to keep that for marriage (you remember your days in confirmation and know that the 6th commandment means that the sexual relationship is meant only for a husband and wife). And time after time, after a date or two, you are dumped (sometimes nicely "You are a nice guy but..." or sometimes it is cruelly). You watch and the person goes for the "bad boy" or the "loose girl." And you think, "What's up with that? Why is it that I end up single and alone and that loser, bum, no good person who treats people so poorly ends up with the dates and the girls/guys?"
It happens. Over and over again it happens. And it tempts you to give in to the ways of the world. Why would I think of this? Am I being tempted to give in to the ways of the world around me? Not at this time. I can't say that it has never happened. But at this time in my life (today at least!) this is not the problem. Why? Not because I am so strong but because the Lord has been leading me in the way that I should go. I thought of these things as I read Psalm 73 this morning. If you haven't read it lately, I would encourage you to do so. If you know someone who is struggling with giving in to the ways of the world instead of following the way of the Lord in their lives, encourage them to read Psalm 73.
It reads at times, "For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked." (vs. 3) "Behold, these are the wicked; always at ease, they increase in riches." (vs. 12) "All in vain have I kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence. For all the day long I have been stricken and rebuked every morning." (vs. 14-15)
"But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task, until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end." (vs. 16-17) "My flesh and heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." (vs. 26) And finally, "For behold, those who are far from you shall perish, you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you. But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of your works." (vs. 27-28)
In the midst of the temptations to give in to sin, to evil, to the ways of the world, this gives encouragement for the Christian to stand firm in the faith in Christ Jesus. Follow Christ - for the outcome, not for the moment. We live for the moment when we should be living for the outcome. What is the outcome? Life with Christ eternally. The pleasure of the moment is fleeting. The pleasure of life with Christ is for an eternity. The moment or eternity? That becomes the challenge. Perhaps I am just showing my age by saying that I think about eternity more than the moment. But more than that - I think it is because I have finally begun to mature in my life of faith. I look at the life in Christ rather than the life in the world.
Why follow Christ? It is the true life! It is the life that lasts. It is the life that has eternal joy. I don't do it to get things. I follow Christ because I love Him. He is my Lord, my Savior, my all in all. What more do I need? Nothing! Nothing at all. So when the wicked get ahead, I realize that it will happen. the Christian gets ahead in life too. Why do we just focus on the wicked? Christ guides all of us! He guides our lives. He gives us life. Follow Him - in the face of the powerful temptations of this world.