Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Race For The Crown

Chuckle: Sunday School teacher: "Children, you must never do anything in private you wouldn't do in public." "Hurrah!" shouted one little boy -- "No more baths!"

Quote: “The race is not always to the swift but to those who keep on running.” --Unknown


"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 . . . ." (2 Timothy 4:7-8 NIV).

If you have watched the Olympics on television, you have no doubt seen the expressions on the faces of the runners as they strain to reach the finish line. The television cameras make it possible for us to see every detail of the race. Looking into the runner's faces, we see athletes straining every muscle, every sinew, and every ligament as they approach the finish line. We see the blood vessels bulging in their necks and across their brows. Each is giving it all he or she has, keeping nothing in reserve, leaving nothing in the tank. The one goal is to win the race and he or she will settle for nothing less than victory.

The apostle Paul often used athletic analogies to drive home spiritual truths. He saw his faithful service to his Lord as a race to be all God wanted him to be. No athlete I've known was ever successful without giving his all in training for, running, and finishing the race. Winning athletes don't settle for mediocrity. Their goal is not to work just hard enough to get by. They give their all. Paul painted this word picture for us: "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize?" Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever" (1 Corinthians 9:24-25 NIV).

What is the goal Paul is straining to attain at the end of his race? Very simply, it is to be faithful to his goal of becoming like Jesus. His aim was to exert every possible effort and ounce of energy to accomplish his goal. God deserves nothing less than our very best in every thing we do for his glory. Like the athlete who gives all he has to win, God expects us to give all we have to grow and become more mature Christians. If we have the "want to," God's Word will teach us the "how to," and his Holy Spirit will give us the "can do" to successfully run, finish and win the race set before us.

We have just begun a new year and there is no better time to examine our hearts to determine how much do we want to please our Lord this year. How much time and energy are we willing to expend for Christ when compared to the energy we expend on other things? Are we depending upon his Spirit to give us strength to finish the race God has called us to run? It's a great time to make a new commitment to spiritual growth and faithfulness in 2011.

Love, Jerry & Dotse


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