18. Aug, 2016

Running the Race

She is about to lose the prize that she had trained for years to obtain but she had one last chance, which was to dive for the line and try to win. Not sure of what had happened she stood to see if she had won the Gold Medal. This was the commitment of one of the athletes at the Olympic Games. The question has to be asked, have we the same commitment to finishing the race for the Lord. Athlete after athlete when asked, stated they had been aiming for their medal most of their athletic career. From day one they have had one goal and that is to win the ultimate prize. I was never anywhere near their level but I do know about extreme training. Many of us who trained to run as fast as we possibly could, are now having health problems from doing the level of training we did. We did it to win  the prize of self worth and bragging rights. At the end of the day we either succeeded in our goal or fell just short. This meant there was only one thing to do and that was to train harder.

Then the day came to give up the running and time to give one hundred percent to serving the Lord. [Matthew 16:4] It does not matter at which level we ran at, we still put our bodies through some very tough times, to put it mildly. All this in the name of achieving a little more than in the last run. What went through my mind once the running ended were the things I did to improve my running. There was the reading and talking with better runners than myself. Is our walk with the Lord any different? Should we not read His Word [Psalm 33:4] and talk with people more mature in the Lord than us? There will never be anybody more mature than the Lord Himself to talk to. [1 John 3:20] To push for any prize we have to go beyond the norm, to use a term from a film, beyond where you have ever been before. The Lord is leading to such great heights. [2 Corinthians 2:14]

I have been in races where my legs have said enough and my whole body has cried out to stop but you keep going because you want to show what you can do or to help the team. Surely the same should apply with our walk with the Lord, we should go beyond anything we did to achieve in the natural world because we are on the road to the world to come when we accept Yeshua as Lord. [Philippians 4:13]

A famous English runner once said that you don’t know what you are capable of until you try and try we should, all earthly events are to please someone but our walk with the Lord should always be to please Him. [Colossians 1:10] He is the One who will hand us the prize at the end of the race. [Revelation 20:11-12] That race that started the day we accepted Yeshua as Lord of our lives. There is a time in every race where we need that little help to keep going. I am reminded of the time in the army when I carried the equipment of two soldiers so they could make it up a hill during a training test.  In this the Lord showed me He is there to pick us up and push us towards the finish. [Matthew 28:20]

Whatever we did to become a better runner we just have to do better in serving the Lord. The first prizes given to athletes back in the time of the Greeks were Laurel leaves placed upon their heads, which of course soon faded. However I follow the One who had a crown of thorns placed upon His head, [John 19:2] This was the ultimate prize for all humanity to see and to strive for - a crown of glory which will never fade, to be presented to us on the day we stand in front of the Lord. [1 Peter 5:4]

In the mean time we push on through troubles and strife, happiness and laughter in full assurance knowing we are able to do the things required to keep us on the narrow path leading to the narrow gate. [Matthew 7:13] Those who have read my book will know that the path has not been smooth for us, we have been through many downs but every time we stumbled, Yeshua was there to catch us and put us back on the right path. [Psalm 119:105] Someone once said, Christianity has never been found wanting, but it has been tried and found too difficult. Yes it can be difficult but surely anything worth having requires some effort to obtain it and the greatest prize ever given, eternal life, surely must be worth some sacrifice. [Jude 1:21]

I know that most of my years are behind me and in those years I have made many mistakes. Mistakes with my family, years I wish I could have back to correct but know I can't. Mistakes with friends and colleagues and students, yes I stand a sinner before my Lord but I know the blood of the Lamb redeems me and I know I am forgiven. [1 Peter 1:17-21] The standard the Lord requires of us is to follow Him, not the world. The Lord is returning and it may not be far off so we have to decide whether we are going to tire and stop or continue to the end, an end that will come like a thief in the night. [Matthew 24:43]

As the years go by we can tire from the effort of doing what is right but again there is one who finished the race and never tired of doing what was required of Him. [Matthew 26:42] Even though He carried the sins of the whole world upon His shoulders [Galatians 1:4] and yet he finished with no complaints. [Isaiah 53:7] How easy it would have been for Him to say “enough!” and just walk away from what was about to happen. [John 10:17-18] Instead He continued on a course that took Him to the soldiers who whipped Him [Matthew 20:19] and to the soldiers who took a crown of thorns and pushed it upon His head and heard the cry of the people, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him! [John 19:15] He pushed on, overcoming pain and suffering [Mark 15:21] and on to the soldiers who drove large nails through His hands and feet. [John 19:18] He hung in front of the people who only saw weakness and mocked Him. [Matthew 27:42] Just before Yeshua reached the finish line, He had time to turn to the man hanging on a cross beside Him and said, “You can make it, today you will be with me in Paradise.” [Luke 23:43] Then as Yeshua crossed the line and into glory He cried out, “It is finished”. [John 19:30] Yes for Him the race was over, He had pushed on to the end for a prize, a prize not for Him but for you and me. Can you imagine a Gold Medal winning athlete walking up to someone who had abused him unto death and saying: “I forgive you and this Gold Medal I have won that I have strived for, I give to you”. Well this is exactly what Yeshua did for you and me, He gave us His prize the prize of eternal life. A prize achieved through suffering and pain and then gladly handed over to us, something for us to seriously think about for our future and where we want to spend it.

 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