RUNNING THE RACE
I have been watching with interest the World Athletics Championships in Moscow.
I admire the way that all of these athletes are so dedicated to achieve honours in their chosen discipline.
They work hard, they deny themselves, they are disciplined, they put aside everything that would hinder them in their goal.
This is not a momentary effort either, the majority of them have been pursuing their excellence for many a year, in it for the long term.
They achieve a medal and high honours but are not satisfied, they press on to the next event, ever expecting to get better, they put disappointments behind them and press on.
These are the crème del la crème, the high achievers, but we should remember that there are many others with the same dedication who you will never see in the World Athletics Championships or the Olympic Games. They expend themselves equally with the best but will never be high achievers. Then there are others, who try hard at first, make every effort, about whom you have great expectations, but hurdles and difficulties come along, they fall by the wayside, they look back, then turn back, giving up the race.
We will long remember Mo Farah, Usain Bolt, Meseret Defar, Brianna Rollins for their outstanding achievements this year, but who remembers Xue Lei, Jason Smyth, Felpipe Gomes, Cristian Valenzuela, El Amin Chentouff, all gold medal winners from the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London, few indeed, if any, I expect.
The Christian is in a race, set before him is the example of the Lord Jesus Christ, around him are many witnesses, he is encouraged not to run in vain, he must not labour in vain, he must lay aside every weight and every sin that so easily besets him, he must run with patience, he must so run that he might obtain, as he strives for the mastery he must be temperate in all things, he must run but not uncertainly, he must fight but not as one that beats the air, he must bring his body into subjection, he must continue to run well and not let any hinder him.
What is this race, above all its the Christian Life, the obeying the truth, its becoming Christ like, communicating the Gospel, holding forth the Word of Life, its running to obtain an incorruptible crown, that the Christian may rejoice in the day of Christ. The Christian does not run for worldly honours, or to be remembered here on earth, as few will be, he might not be amongst the crème del la crème, but he will be regarded from on high, he will not achieve gold medals but he shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare him, as a man spares his own son that serves him.
The Christian has every advantage in this race, he runs with a manual of instructions, of help and encouragement. He has, as Terezinha Guilhermina of Brazil the blind T12 runner, a guide who runs alongside, who will never fall, as Guilherme Soares, just before the finish line, tripping her up. The Christian is given a comforter within who is always present to be called upon and has Power to share. The Christian does not travel alone, he has many who accompany him along the way. Above all the Christian has a dedicated direct line to one who has successfully run the race before who, can impart wisdom, knowledge, comfort, and encouragement.
But there are many that seem to enter the race, to start on the pathway to life, the Christian pathway, but fall away. Hurdles and difficulties come along, they fall by the wayside, they look back, then turn back, giving up the race. They turn as a dog to its vomit again, return as a sow to wallow in the mire, become as Lot’s wife, who heeds the warning, flees from the city of destruction, but then looks back in disobedience and is turned into a pillar of salt.
Now my questions are. What kind of athlete are you? What kind of race are you running? What is the expected end of your journey? How are you overcoming obstacles? Are you persevering unto the end?
Sally Pearson (100 metre hurdler) said, after coming second in her race, “every single person out there is a competitor” are you in the Christian Race, is this true of you, are you a competitor ? Ben Johnson said (of Usain Bolt) that successfully winning the races, “is such a sweet place to be”
Are you a real competitor who is enjoying the sweetness of the presence of Jesus as you Run Christian’s Race to Glory ?
Are you pressing toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. ? Philippians 3:14
The Saviour says at the end of the race “Well done good and faithful servant….. Enter into the joy of your Lord” Matthew 25:21
And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end.
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.
2 Timothy 4:6-8
For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
See also: 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 : Philippians. 2:16 : Galatians 2:2 : Galatians. 5:7
© Jeff Maxwell 17/08/2013
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