You know, I have been troubled that too many of us are taking our faith for granted. That we either don’t understand that this is no “Mickey Mouse” game we are playing. That this is serious “Life or death” stuff! Or, we simply don’t care. Whatever our reasons might be, we are still ignoring Paul’s admonition:
“Since we are surrounded by so many examples of faith, we must get rid of everything that slows us down, especially sin that distracts us. We must run the race that lies ahead of us and never give up” (Hebrews 12:1)
Now notice the intensity of Paul’s words: get rid of “everything” that slows us down . That doesn’t mean that once a year we concentrate on “suffering” for the Lord (during what some call “Lent.”). You know, that’s when we give us eating Lemon Pies for a month.
No, according to Paul, in this race we are to run, “We must focus on Yeshua, the source and goal of our faith. [How so? What did He do?] He saw the joy ahead of him, so he endured death on the cross and ignored the disgrace it brought him. [Oh! That is a tough attitude to have!] Then he received the highest position in heaven, the one next to the throne of God. Think about Yeshua, who endured opposition from sinners, so that you don’t become tired and give up (Hebrews 12:2-3).
Paul told the Christians in Corinth:
“Don’t you realize that everyone who runs in a race runs to win, but only one runner gets the prize? [Again, that is a tough message] Run like them, so that you can win. Everyone who enters an athletic contest goes into strict training. They do it to win a temporary crown, but we do it to win one that will be permanent.
So I run — but not without a clear goal ahead of me. So I box — but not as if I were just shadow boxing. Rather, I toughen my body with punches and make it my slave so that I will not be disqualified after I have spread the Good News to others” (I Corinthians 9:24-27)
And to the church in Philippi:
I run straight toward the goal to win the prize that God’s heavenly call offers in Christ Yeshua (Philippians 3:14)
Whoa! That IS tough! So, it seems that when we consider the race “set before us” — we also need to endure; remain focused on our vision; exercise self-discipline along with a desire and determination to win! Or as Jason Nesmith told us: “Never give up. Never surrender.” If we lack any of these areas, I, like Justin E. Wilson, “gar-on-tee!” that we will become vulnerable to defeat and failure. I am sorry, but I didn’t make the rules!
(I send out messages like this each morning in emails, and if you are interested in receiving them, send me your email address and I will add youm—a to the list: Mail List)
I do thank you for your gifts. It is your faithful and continued support that makes these messages possible.