22. Jun, 2016

Going for the prize.

If you have ever run a marathon you will know about the last two and a half kilometres. This is the zone of the race where many come to grief, as there has not been enough thought going into the training. You rushed off the start line with much enthusiasm thinking this is easy. You started the run with many expectations, for the first timers you just wanted to finish. What is ahead is unknown territory and you hope you have done enough to get you through the tough times you have been told about. There are many obstacles that lay ahead; the hills, those new shoes you brought just for the event that have not been fully run in, your unwillingness to study the course or listen to advice and much more. Many have never run the distance of the Marathon - 42 kilometres - before and have no idea what lies ahead. In their ignorance they even go past drink stations, the very things that restore some of the energy you have lost. Your friends cheer you on, it helps a little, but they are not running the race and facing the last two kilometres, in this you are all alone. You have to dig deep to raise the required energy to cross the finish line.

Since coming to the Lord I have compared and seen walking with the Lord in much the same way as training, but there are some differences. There is a starting point and that is accepting Yeshua as Lord and saviour, [Acts 16:31] which is the first step in a very long journey. You start the new day in the Lord with much enthusiasm wanting to go and go fast. The enthusiasm is strong but it is not long before you strike trouble. [John 16:33] They told you that when you accepted Yeshua everything would be fine but everything seemed to be going wrong. You stepped into unknown territory, a place you had never been before. The evil one is placing obstacles in your way to get you to give up, even questioning what you believe. [Psalm 115:2]

Someone once said; “Christianity has never been tried and been found wanting but it has been tried and found too difficult.” It is difficult, especially for new Believers, as they do not have the knowledge or the experience of the Bible.  There is a training to be done in the form of studying the Word. [2 Timothy 2:15] Here is a difference between running a marathon and walking with the Lord. In running or in life, you see the goal and train before you attempt to reach it. [Luke 14:28] Walking with the Lord you start the journey, not knowing what you don’t know and you have to get to a point where you know what you don’t know and then start asking questions.

A personal trainer will push you through a training routine as you may only have a few short weeks before you stand on the starting line. The personal trainer we have, Yeshua, is gentle and does not push and is patient. [Proverbs 15:4] There is no time limit as we have a lifetime to walk with the Lord and learn what we need to know. You might say what if something happens that it turns out I don’t have the expected lifetime? Well there is the beauty of the Lord. In a marathon you are required to finish the whole forty-two kilometres to receive the prize. Some take a little over two hours, whereas others may take over five hours or more, but you still have to finish the course to receive an earthly prize.

With the Lord as long as we are walking with Him, if something along the way happens He will take us home. [Luke 23:43] When walking with the Lord there is no last two kilometres where we may trip and fall. The reason, Yeshua is there for us all the way, not only cheering us along, but also He is there to carry you over the finish line. [Matthew 11:28] In a marathon you have to win to get the glory, in the Lord’s race you just have to finish to receive His glorious prize. [Matthew 18:12]

There are drink stations in a marathon that freshen you for what lies ahead. In our walk with Yeshua He is our drink station, the One who freshens you at every hurdle, every mishap you may encounter, because Yeshua said: “All who thirst come to me” [John 14:4] He also said “I am the bread of life,” [John 6:35] if we eat of this bread, we will have the strength to face up to all things that the world and satan can throw at us. [Philippians 4:13] If the Word tells us, Yeshua will never leave us,  [Matthew 28:20] Surely He has given us the strength through the Holy Spirit to carry us and give us the knowledge to complete the course [John 14:16] and help us in every way to get us across the line, finish the race and receive the prize. As you walk the last part of this journey, you will look around and see that you are alone. None of your earthly friends can walk it for you; it is just you and the Lord and you walk on for the prize. [Philippians 3:14]

In a Marathon you finish and receive a prize, a prize that is put away and over the coming years, is forgotten.  A Tee Shirt, which wears out, a medallion that is in a draw somewhere or a certificate that is tucked away in a folder, maybe. [1 Corinthians 9:25]

When we finish the walk with the Lord, we will see the arms of Yeshua stretched out welcoming us home. At this point you will receive a prize that is everlasting, because this prize was given when Yeshua died on the cross for the sins of the world; for you and for me and for everybody who confesses Yeshua as Lord. Now as you cross the line you will receive this prize, promised so long ago, [2 Timothy 4:8] with the words of the Lord; “Well done true and faithful servant.” [Matthew 25:21] The journey will be over and now you can rest in His loving care, within the walls of our heavenly Father’s House. [John 14:2]

 

I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing. 2 Timothy 4:1-8