Vie used to be one of my favorite words. Which I find heavily ironic! To vie means to strive in competition or rivalry with another. I used to use it in all my poems and writings in Ms. Escalante's class.
My fictional characters would always go against some nemesis of sorts be it self or enemy and in a tight battle come on top victorious! I was always attracted to those types of books and movies as well. The unknown hero who comes out with the shot to win the game at the buzzer or the underprivileged man who beats all odds and influences others for good. Don't we like the hero stories? Someone defying the impossible, but not just for the story's sake, but to pretend we could one day do that if only given the chance.
In Acts 20:24, it is Paul's confession of "if only" that has always grasped my attention. I remember one of my softball coaches grabbing the uniform from my shoulder to look me square in the eyes to be sure I was heeding the advice he gave. That's how I feel about the if only. Pauls says, "However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me- the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace."
The thing about hero movies defying all odds, is we typically forget all the other stuff the character went through to be in the place they are in before vying for victory. When you practice, you get better at whatever you are practicing. When you practice spiritual disciplines and culminating your relationship with Christ, it becomes easier. When you practice sin, it becomes easier. When you practice being a person of noble character, it becomes easier. I love the story of Nelson Mandela because coming into power as South Africa's president, he was in a position to pay back all the things done to him. But he chose grace. Not as a whim, but because he devoted his life to finishing the race he started. He turned the other check and chose to walk away from rivalry in an effort to bond a nation together.
Wow, I wish I could do that more. Walk away from rivalry and see the kingdom of God displayed on Earth...if only we could learn to walk away from our sinful nature and turn towards God's face more and more; being transformed from one degree of glory to another.