Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
(Psalm 73:25-26, ESV)
As I was flying with Megan from Orange County to Phoenix yesterday afternoon I got to spend a little time in Psalm 73. I stumbled on the section of Scripture quoted above and was reminded of a very hard truth but one worth remembering especially as I near the American Open.
In this Psalm the writer is reflecting on the lives that the wicked live entertaining their flesh and desires at seemingly no cost to them or their living. The psalmist reflects on this in light of the sacrifices and obedient life he lives. The wicked seem to be having so much more fun and entertaining their pleasures so much more!
The psalmist sees what every athlete sees who is training for something bigger than a “fun” life. An athlete training for a big competition or to qualify for a big competition knows that sacrifices and life change must occur in order to achieve that goal. That athlete has to change their diet, sleep schedule, work hours, and what they do on Saturday nights. Everything about their life has to change if they want to achieve their goal. An athlete with this mindset might look at the rest of the world living their lives free from these bounds and be jealous. But this athlete will remember that he or she is training for something bigger than everyone else too.
That’s what’s happening to the psalmist here. He sees the world’s definition of pleasure and remembers that he serves something much bigger than what the wicked serve. He serves the Lord who he states ranks the highest on his list of desires. The psalmist sees the value of a life of intimacy with God in the same way that an athlete sees the value of a disciplined training regimen for the purpose of reaching their goal.
The truth is however that even what the athlete chases in his competitive goals is worthless when compared to the immeasurable value of Christ. The psalmist sees that there is nothing worth desiring MORE than God Himself and that He alone will never fail. Every other desire, accomplishment, medal, or award will fail and fade but the Lord is our portion FOREVER.
Sacrifice and self-restraint is a part of achieving or obtaining anything of great value. This is especially true of a life lived for the purposes of God’s glory.