Run the race.

race1

How’s your race going, friend?  If you are in one of those times when it looks like a straight level stretch as far as the eye can see, thank God, and keep going. Those are sweet times! Some of you just can’t quite get your timing right and you are stumbling along. Don’t quit!  A few of you are flat on your face on the track. You got tripped up, distracted perhaps, and you are tempted to limp off and disappear into the crowd, hanging up the race to your Father’s House. Get back on your feet!

Bianca Olthoff tells about running a hurdles race in high school. (watch at this link) At the starting gate she took note of the two girls running alongside of her.  As the race started she took a micro-moment to look away from the track glancing sideways at one of her competitors. One look and she lost her timing for the hurdles. She crashed through gate after gate, bruising her knees and bloodying her shins, ultimately falling on her face.  Obviously, she lost the race, but her coach complimented her on the fact that she finished! She told that story in the context of this passage from the Word – “Since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.” (Hebrews 12:1-2, NLT)

In our Christian experience, each of us must run our own race. Hebrews tells us to “run …the race marked out.”  In the wisdom of God there is a course laid out for each of us. I can’t run your race, nor can you run mine. We are uniquely equipped and called to faithfulness. Oh yes, we can cheer each other on. We can encourage, but ultimately the course is ours, the finish line set by our Father.  Paul coaches us –  “Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step.” (1 Corinthians 9:24-26, NLT)

All kinds of distractions have the potential to take us out of the competition.  We can obsess about money, decide to pursue security, make life about who we love, where we live, what we drive. We can ‘get religion,’ forgetting that it is Christ who saves and attempting perfection.  And, there is the reality of the Evil one who has no reservations about hurling whatever he can at us to take us out. Writing to some Christians who had started with Christ and then dropped out, Paul asks them to think.  “You were running superbly! Who cut in on you, deflecting you from the true course of obedience? This detour doesn’t come from the One who called you into the race in the first place.” (Galatians 5:7-8, The Message)

Keep  your eyes on Jesus.” It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? But, it demands focus and daily discipline of us. Like the old fable, this race is not just for the swift. It is about finishing well.
Feeling discouraged?
Find some alone time and meditate on the Hebrews passage referenced above.
Are you barely on your feet?  
Invite the Holy Spirit to reveal weights – distractions or sins – that you are carrying.
Flying along, feeling great?
Sing praises, take the grace, and stay the course.

Here is a word from the Word. These words written by Paul as he knew his life was about to end are words I have come to love.  How I pray that when our race is nearly run, each of us will have the same confidence. “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:7-8, NIV)

___________

All Your Promises

Oh Lord our Lord
How majestic is Your name
Your words are true
Your mercy does not change
All Your promises are precious
Reviving our faith
Ev’ry one of them
Will be fulfilled one day oh

 All Your promises
Are yes and amen Jesus
Your promises are true
All Your promises
Are yes and amen Lord Jesus
We’ll keep running after You

 We will run
We’ll run and not grow weary
We will rise upon the eagle’s wings
In the presence of the Lord
Our spirits will soar
Till we one day gaze upon our King oh

 All Your promises
Are yes and amen Jesus
Your promises are true
All Your promises
Are yes and amen Lord Jesus
We’ll keep running after You

Andrew Smith © 1995 Mercy / Vineyard Publishing (Admin. by Vineyard Music USA)
Vineyard Songs Canada (Admin. by Vineyard Music USA)

CCLI License # 810055

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