Are you really living or just surviving? | Teen Life Christian Youth Articles, Daily Devotions

Are you really living or just surviving?

Ten years after leaving school, I finally got to tell my doubting teacher about God.

Teaching science, it turns out, proved quite convenient for Mr. B. From faith to rats to his sandwich at lunch, Mr. B. accepted nothing without dissection. If any discussion of Creation, God, or Jesus was brought up, Mr. B. called it a hypothesis and changed the subject.

Little did I know then, just how wrong a smart man could be. 

Escape vs. Missing Out

Mr. B was so afraid of what it meant to believe, he never took the necessary risk to experience the blessings faith can bring. In the classroom, Mr. B’s intelligence was a help. But in the rest of life, both now and for eternity, his smarts were an enemy to obedience. Seeing as Mr. B. avoided all things too big for his microscope, he was limited in the revelation of all things spectacular.

Have you ever noticed how the unfamiliar always reveals something amazing? Or how adventure is most exciting when we don’t predict it? God never said it wouldn’t be scary. He didn’t say it would make sense. Jesus just kept saying, “Do not fear,” “Be not afraid,” and “I am with you to the end of the age.” 

Wild leaps of faith and righteous risks; these are the very core of intimacy with Jesus. 

Living vs. Surviving

While it’s important to pursue more of God’s Word, to seek answers to our questions, and to share our deepest doubts, God made us His people to persevere with belief. He calls us to step out and to explore. If we try and predict everything ahead of time and seek to self-protect, this isn’t wisdom at all. It’s cowardice.  

You can’t be an explorer, if you’re unwilling to risk. And you can’t be a Christ-follower, if you’re unwilling to be ridiculed. If we care too much for being wrong, we’ll never meet the Savior who makes us right. This was Mr. B.’s very problem. My teacher tried so hard to live error-free, it turns out he wasn’t really living at all. 

I know, because ten years later this happened at the restaurant I worked in...

Then vs. Later

“I’d recognize that neck anywhere!”

In a restaurant three hours from the classroom where he taught, I watched the hostess lead my former teacher, Mr. B, to a booth in my section... 

Maybe he believes now? I thought positively as I approached.

“Hi, I’m -”

“You’re Kelly,” Mr. B. interrupted. I wasn’t wearing a name tag.

“You remembered! How did -”

“ I couldn’t forget.” Mr. B. didn’t smile. “What is it?”

“What’s what?”

“What’s different about you?” 

Okay. That was abrupt...

As a restaurant employee, I was constantly taking orders. “Medium rare.” “No ice.” “Extra butter on the side.” But this order? I didn’t expect for here - for today - to be my opportunity to tell Mr. B. just why he couldn’t forget me. 

Lord, help! I shouted silently. And I plopped into the booth beside Mr. B.’s wife and shared my faith with them.

Fearing vs. Serving

I don’t recall what Mr. and Mrs. B. chose from the menu that night. I don’t remember if they requested refills or how many. I do, however, know exactly whom I served. I know I offered a greater drink than I could have poured. I know I fed them a richer fare than everything on the menu. And as I told them about my trust in Jesus, I know who answered when Mr. B. asked …

“Kelly, what if you’re wrong?”

What if I’m wrong?

“Well,” I paused, “I guess I’d rather be wrong after living a life with Hope, than be right after experiencing a life without it.” 


The words flew out like nobody’s business, and just then I realized how little wisdom truly belonged to Mr. B. 

Oh, he’d memorized printed materials and read thousands of books, but the man knew nothing of the thrill of adventure—the complete freedom that comes from letting go of our pride, and boldly following Jesus … even if we’ve got no idea where he’s taking us.

Hide vs. Apply

Do you know someone who hides in intelligence but refuses the adventure of believing? If you do, remember what I learned from my time with Mr. B.

Ask God to for the opportunity to offer a greater fare than menus offer and then plop down in their booth, offer Truth, and let Jesus do the rest.