In cross country or track, I remember going through a strict training! 1 Corinthians 9:24-25 (NIV) “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. 25 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.” We all have to run our own race and No one can run your race for you. The good news is we are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses! God will bring sisters and brothers in Christ in your life! In a physical race, there will be someone who makes it across the finish line first and someone who will come in last. There will be some who hit a home run with one swing, while others walk to first base! It doesn’t matter who hits or strikes out, what matters is finishing the race and to keep swinging like you will hit the ball each time! Keep your eyes on the ball! These physical lessons teach us, we need to keep our eyes on Jesus. When we let go of our own understanding of why things happen, we trust Who knows everything! Your faith will spirituality ground you! Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
God says the first will be last and the last will be first! (Matthew 20:16) There is no competition in the body of Christ! What does that actually mean? One thing is for sure, sports have competition which train us physically and mentally! However, there is no competition in the body of Christ! Ephesians 2:8-10 ( NIV) “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Every person is God’s masterpiece! God made you in His image, the creator of the whole world and everything in it, knows absolutely everything about you and loves you deeply. (Psalms 139) When you are born again, the old is gone and you are being made anew in Christ Jesus. God has give each person a purpose set up long before we were born, and No one is more valuable or better then someone else! We are all valuable, loved, wanted, beautiful, special, unique, amazing, and much more! Psalms 8:5-6 (NIV) “what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet:” We are His special creation made for a purpose to live out for God. All gifts and talents are uniquely given to us for God’s glory to further His kingdom! When you know how much you are loved by God, you will guard you’re heart above all else by letting go completely of your old self and take hold of your new self in Christ Jesus!
Let all of us take hold of what God has given us for His glory and remind each other daily. Hebrews 2 explains how we need to pay close attention to what we heard so we don’t drift astray. We need to talk about the things of God daily. The time is short and the days of Noah are getting closer. Matthew 24:37-41 (NIV)”As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark;39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left” We have confidence in the unchanging loving Father who doesn’t change like shifting shadows!
So, with all the craziness going on around us, we know God is still in control! We hold on to who never changes by Keeping our sights on Jesus, never giving up even when it’s hard and continue our race! I thought about Noah and his family! They had some craziness going on all around them! They fixed their hearts on God! Then I thought about how all of us need to work out our salvation with fear and trembling as we trust God completely! Noah trusted God without seeing! Philippians 2:12-13 (NIV) “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” Working out your salvation with fear and trembling doesn’t mean we live in fear because God didn’t give us a spirit of fear. 2 Timothy 1:7 (NIV) “7For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” It is both a physical and spiritual lesson in self discipline showing us what it looks like to work out your salvation with fear and trembling. What it looks like to keep going even if we don’t understand or see the big picture. Working out your salvation would be to pick up your daily cross and deny yourself your ways while staying humble! It would be saying No to yourself! It picking up your bible daily, thinking about what you read and talking about scripture as the Holy Spirit teaches you throughout the day. It’s putting off the old self including your old ways of thinking taught by the world! It choosing not to join the customs of the world. It’s turning to God’s ways for your life through scripture instead of the advice given to you based on the world!
We need scripture to filter out the ways of the world taught in various ways like movies, social media, games, and more! God called us to renew our minds and the only way to do this is to cleanse ourselves with the living words of God daily! The influence and distraction of this world can lead you astray. Hebrews 4:12-13 (NIV) “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. “ All scripture is God breathed (2 Timothy 3:16) cleansing the old ways of thinking and replacing it with new. In John 1:1-5 (NIV) “ In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” Scripture reveals how the Old Testament is the New Testament concealed and the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed!When we put God first, we are setting up new patterns of thinking! We are rewiring our brain to be God centered instead of self centered! Scripture is the light shining so bright because it’s alive and active leading us to the right way to go in the darkening world.
I’m sure Noah and his family lived their life separated from the ways and customs of the world as he built the Ark. He couldn’t even imagine what was going to happen to the entire world all at once, but He trusted God completely and did everything exactly as God instructed. Noah and his family experienced a beautiful 🌈! God promised he would never flood the entire world again! (Genesis 9:8-17) We need to run the race like we will get the prize! Keep your eyes on the prize! When we put God first, we are setting up new patterns of thinking! We are rewiring our brain to be God centered instead of self centered. You will be seeking God’s will for your life as he shows you which path to take. We need to keep our eyes on the ball in a game, but in life we need to fix our eyes on Jesus, Hebrews 12:2 (NIV) “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” The cares of the world will pull us another direction if we take our eyes off of Jesus. The spiritual race we are called to run is individual, but has the same destination for those who believe in Jesus! You will never hunger or thirst as you abide in Jesus. Our home is in heaven with our Heavenly Father! Making it to the finish line will be awesome! I imagine Jesus with his arms open wide giving me a hug! Our eternal prize lasts forever and it can’t be taken from us! Galatians 3:28,“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”