LIFE IS AN AMAZING RACE!
Here are a few Scriptures that present our lives as a race that God has set before 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. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.” – Paul (1 Corinthians 9:24-27 NLT)
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.” – Paul (2 Timothy 4:7 NLT)
And also in Hebrews:
“Therefore, 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.” Hebrews 12:1 NLT
SO… What are we racing for? Are we, as Paul does, running with purpose in every step? If we look only at these texts of Scripture what can we learn about what’s needed to run this race well?
WHY EVEN RUN?
We are told we are running for an eternal prize. So what is the prize? Is it worth all the effort running requires? Will we even want the prize?
The first thing that comes to mind when I think about what the prize might be is a phrase Jesus often uses: eternal life. I’m not refering to what many think when presented with this phrase (heaven instead of hell) but to a quality of relationship with God. This is how Jesus defines eternal life:
“Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” – Jesus (John 17:3 NIV)
Looking at how this phrase “eternal life” is used by Jesus and throughout the New Testament would leave you with these impressions.
- It is defined as a relationship with God (knowing him) John 17:3
- It is something that those who believe in Jesus already possess. 1 John 5:13
- John seems to indicate that eternal life is Jesus himself – 1 John 5:20 (which makes sense when you consider that Jesus says, “I Am the way the truth and the life” (John 14:6 NIV) and “I Am the resurrection and the life” (John 11))
Other prizes include reigning and ruling with Christ in his coming kingdom . Does this even register on our radar? Do we ever even given it a thought? Are we even aware Christ has a coming kingdom and that how we live here and now determines our place in that kingdom?
How about commendation from God for a life well lived. To hear him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant”. Does this matter to us? This reminds me of a Francis Chan video:
What’s needed to run this race well?
Hebrews brings up the vital issue of being unentangled and free of sin. For this we need to be disciplined. But disciplined to what end? What’s the goal?
I firmly believe it all boils down to this: To live a life of love. Love is the goal of discipline.
Sin is, after all, anti-love. So how do we discipline ourselves away from sin and toward a life of love?
I think it’s so important to always keep in mind that love is the goal of a disciplined life, not just simply to avoid sin. And I think, herein lies the victory. Think about it.
If we are actively pursuing a life of loving others, waking up each morning with the thought, “How can I show love to ____ today?” and then by God doing it, then we are living and walking in the life God wants for us. In fact, whether we know it or not, we are living “in God” for the bible says, “those who live in love, live in God”. (1 John 4)
Amazing. If we are actively loving others, God is all over and in and all around us. You can’t escape God when you are loving others… even if you aren’t even aware of it. For God is love.
However, If you aren’t actively loving others then you are about as far from God as you can be. I don’t care how much of the Bible you have memorized or how big a church it is that you pastor.
“Without love, you are nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13)
RUNNING WITH PURPOSE IN EVERY STEP
I will end with a Scripture that sums up this conversation:
“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.8 Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction;whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” (Galatians 6:7-10 NIV)
So what do you think? Does this spark any interesting thoughts for you that you’d like to share? Please leave a comment!
(share this post if it blessed you!)
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