Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Running for Gold

“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 Cor 9:24-27 NLT)

“THEREFORE THEN, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who have borne testimony to the Truth], let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us, Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection]. He, for the joy [of obtaining the prize] that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb 12:1-2)

“You don’t work all your life for silver. You work for gold.” Shawn Johnson was credited with this quote during the broadcast of the balance beam finals of the Olympics last night. Before I heard this I was in an unusually contemplative mood & that quote seemed to put what I was feeling into the words I had as yet been unable to find. I’ve faced some things in my life in the last few weeks (which I’ll expound on in future posts) that have made me determined to march into heaven as a Kingdom champion. I don’t want to come to the end of my life having to accept the second place finish. I don’t give a rat’s whisker what Satan throws at me to try to get me off course. If anything those things are making me more determined. I will win my race! My past does not matter. I don’t have to catch up. I only have to jump in where I am and begin moving forward without ever looking back.

Olympic athletes are working “for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You're after one that's gold eternally.” (1 Cor 9:25, The Message). The awesome thing is that I’m not running my race alone! Christ and the saints are supporting me, cheering me on. I will not let them down, but I will keep my eyes on the Prize – on Christ Himself. One day Christ will honor me with those golden words, “Well done my good and faithful servant”!

Just to give you some more food for thought, here’s the Hebrews passage from the Message. “Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we'd better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he's there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!” (Heb 12:1-3)

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