As Christians, we are called to run a race. I would not call it a sprint, it is more of a marathon. So now that we have accepted the free gift of salvation and the invitation to be a child of God, we have been enlisted into the army of God!
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. (1 Corinthians 9:24-27 NLT)
Back in ancient times, the Olympics was an extremely popular thing to everyone. Which is why I believe Paul wrote this, for the Corinthian church to be able to relate clearly.
Whether you are overweight or skinny, short or tall, lame or paralyzed, you are in a spiritual race! When you accepted Jesus you decided to stop being idle and run. The way you look physically doesn’t determine your spiritual life or your growth. A man or woman can be dressed in the best suit, outfit, heels and still live a carnal life.
The worlds fastest man at the moment is Usain Bolt, from Jamaica. One may say that Bolt can just beat anyone in a race. I agree to an extent. If Usain dares not to train for months or years, I guarantee someone will come and beat him. Maybe I can as well, maybe not, but you understand the point. Training is everything. “Hard work beats talent, when talent doesn’t work hard” (Tim Notke).
How do I train?
- An athletes appetite is extremely strict. We must watch what we eat, spiritually. One cheeseburger doesn’t cause a disease. However, if you feed yourself that for yours, you’ll become obese. Likewise in a spiritual sense. If you feed yourself with a tiny sin a day (gossip, lust, fornication, lying, backbiting, etc), you may not be in bad condition. Yet, it will still add up until you are too spiritually overweight and you cannot run any further. The devil doesn’t offer you a ton load of something. He gives you little by little until you are in bondage and you can no longer resist. Feed your spirit with the word of God, prayer, spiritual things. I won’t say every listen to every kind of Christian music today. I once heard a song where the artist was saying “baby”, however the entire CD did not say the name of Jesus, once!
- Disciplining our body. Jesus said that we are to “deny ourselves”. Does that mean I should say, “I’m not Tovares Grey, I have a code name only God should know”? That would be foolish. We deny ourselves by saying no to our carnal desires. Whatever we feed will grow, whatever we starve will die.
- Cut off certain ties. Athletes still have family and friends, but they put that behind them when they’re training or in a race……. Soldiers don’t get tied up in the affairs of civilian life, for then they cannot please the officer who enlisted them. (2 Timothy 2:4 NLT)
In this Christian race, we will have hurdles. Things that you can only go over with Christ. Yes, you may have strong faith and try this scripture: For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. (Mark 11:23). However, even though that’s a good try, you may not always get an answer. God answers by our faith, but he cannot deliver us from everything, he wants us to take us through them. I know you may say I’m blaspheming and not saying God is able, but let me give you proof:
- The children of Israel were delivered from their oppression, they saw God work miracles, but yet they still murmured against God. They ended up dying in the wilderness. Why? They were delivered, but their mindsets weren’t delivered.
- We often want to be delivered from tough situations (Poverty, sickness, ridicule, nonbelievers as family members, etc). Yet, we must know that God wants us to learn in these situations. If you never had a problem, how could you testify that God is a deliverer, protector, provider, healer?
- The 3 Hebrew boys didn’t care that they would be thrown into the fire, because circumstances didn’t change their God. Their God changes circumstances.
- Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word. It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes. (Psalm 119:67, 71)
- Embrace afflictions, they will come! (Psalms 34:19)
Our prize is JESUS! I’m sure Heaven will be beautiful. Some things we may even see that weren’t described in the bible. However, Jesus is what we look to at the finish line (Philippians 3:8). If we want to get there we have to persevere through many trials. Sometimes we get worried that we can’t hear God’s voice in the rough times, but you answer me. Have you ever seen a teacher talking to a student during a test, that they prepared them for? Can someone take up your cross for you? Don’t pray for a lighter cross, pray for a broader back to carry it (Anon)!
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 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. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:1-3)
I am writing to encourage you, and do not think I say this to scare you. If you look back, you may not get to come back!
- Remember Lot’s wife! (Luke 17:32)
- And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. (Luke 9:62)
Once saved, always saved is equivalent to once shaved, always shaved. You must know Christianity is a everyday thing, not a service thing. It is about a relationship with Christ, not a religion.
Keep running, don’ stay on the fence. Run with endurance, don’t overwhelm yourself. Share this, help someone! God bless you!