Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Keeping Our Eyes on The Prize

"To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. 12We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; 13when we are slandered, we answer kindly. Up to this moment we have become the scum of the earth, the refuse of the world." 1 Corinthians 4:11-13

Last night I heard a great analogy about living the Christian life. It was being compared to running a race on a racetrack. When you are a runner, you focus on yourself, and on your tiny 3-foot wide lane that you have to run in. Your focus is on getting to the end of the race before anyone else, and you learn to let nothing distract you along the way. Even glancing right or left to look at who is on either side of you can be a distraction and cause you to miss your goal. Yet, as a runner, sometimes you try to catch the attention of the others you are running with. Anything to get them to take a brief glance your way and break their concentration. Being a Christian is the exact same way. As a Christian, we have a purpose- each and every one of us has a purpose. We have a purpose and a goal, and as we're running the purpose, focused on the goal, the devil will come along and throw everything he can at us to distract us, to cause us to look away from our goal, to stumble in our purpose.

As a runner though, there may be days where you don't make it to the end, days where you trip and fall or get distracted, and we can take heart in knowing that today is a new day. We are a new person in Christ Jesus, and what distracted us yesterday, will not distract us today. I read the verses above in 1 Corinthians and read about all that the devil threw at Paul. He clearly did not having it easy being an Apostle of Christ, yet he persevered right to his very last breath. He kept his eyes on the prize and his focus on his purpose, and God blessed him for it.

We can all learn from the runner and from Paul. There are going to be rough patches, of that, there is no doubt. That devil is going to come swinging with everything he's got, but our God is bigger. We can recognize those attacks for what they are and call on the name of the Lord to be saved. Though the race may be difficult at times, the prize at the end is so worth it.

"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.

25Everyone 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. 26Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. 27No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize." 1 Corinthians 9:24-27

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