Life is a Race
I had completely forgotten about a list I had once written down during an online session that I had attended. As I arranged some of my journals, I put my hands on one book and placed it on my working table. I opened up to a page where I had written 20 names of people. The title was People that I need to forgive for offending me. Besides each name, I wrote the reason why I forgave the person. I followed instructions during the meeting as the speaker took us through the topic of Dealing with your Past Life. I followed all the instructions. And that’s how I came up with the list. We prayed and asked God to help us let go of our bad past experiences to get rid of unnecessary weights that will keep us from running with God’s vision for our lives. I learned from the example of Jesus, who forgave all those who did to Him all manner of shameful things. I have learned to decide to forgive all who offend me in advance so that I am not caught off-guard struggling to forgive.
The Race of Faith
All of us are in the race of life. A high-speed moving force is pushing one closer and closer to the grave. And at the end of the race, there is a price. The price is set only for those who ran according to the rules. The moment one is born, the race begins.
The word race is the ancient Greek word agora, used for conflict or struggles of many kinds. In the race of life, one is faced with many conflicts and struggles; when we read the Bible, we see how our fathers of faith handled their situations and pleased God. We also have many great people around us who demonstrate what it means to live a life of faith. As captured in scripture, our fathers pleased God because they lived a life of faith and endurance. On the day of judgment, their lives will either testify for or against our favor based on how well we run our race
Sin can hold us back, and some things may not be sins but are merely hindrances that can keep us from running effectively the race God has for us. One has to make decisions daily on what to avoid and what to tolerate. Sin will admirably present itself, but we either choose to accommodate it or run away from it. We may have to trade in our lives against not indulging in worshiping the god of this world. We learn how Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego opted to die even if God would not show up and save them. They lived a life of faith and total devotion to God regardless of being in Babylon, where the world was expressing itself in a very intimidating way. And it was very tempting to give in. They served at the king’s palace, but they did not choose to adopt the sophisticated lifestyle of the king’s servants.
Witnesses in Our Race
According to Ferdinand Nweke, if Someone wrote the book of Hebrews 11 today, it would be about great men of God who, through faith, obtained powerful cars, big houses, promotions in the place of work, salary increment, and numerous testimonies of those who married the wives/husbands of their choice. In contrast, our forebears used their faith for more consequential matters. These are great men of God who faced the fiery furnace, subdued nations, extended the Kingdom of God selflessly, faced fierce hungry lions, and faced a giant defying the name of the Lord of the Israel army.
God has planned something more significant for us so that they will be made perfect together with us. It will be disappointing for the heroes of faith to discover that they were made to wait for only lukewarm unbelieving Christians. Christians who wavered where they stood firm and compromised where they opted for a fiery furnace and doubted the very truth which they laid down their lives for.
What will your Faith accomplish for the Kingdom and the cause of Christ?
We are never given a leeway to blame our sin on demons; Scripture guides us to lay aside every weight in the power of the Holy Spirit, and the sin which we easily fall for.
The Focus in the Race
When we received the gift of salvation, we received it by grace through faith In Jesus. Let us not get caught up in focusing on our effort and human-invented ideas to finish the race. Jesus is the One who initiated it, and He is the One who will perfect it and complete it as we engage Him daily by being transformed by His word. To experience transformation, we have to commit ourselves to study scriptures so that we can know Him, and understand His ways. Paul saw himself as a runner who had a race to finish, and nothing would keep him from finishing the race with joy. We need the endurance to run our own race with joy. And not give up, looking unto Jesus and completely looking away from other things. Everything else that the world offers as solutions to our situations is temporal and meant to distract us from Jesus and lead us down the road of destruction. God has already given us His very best, i.e., His only Son. Cant He, along with His Son, provide us with everything?
The focus while running the race should not be on the cheering crowd or the weights. Neither should it be the sin that so easily entangles us. Let us lay them aside and fix our gaze only on Jesus. If one falls into temptation, focusing on the sin will generate guilt, and Jesus doesn’t condemn us. We need at such a time to keep gazing on Jesus by committing to read His word to seek His strength and let Him take our weaknesses until we completely become like Him in how we think and view life. He is standing in heaven right now as our High Priest. And He understands all our weaknesses because he was also tempted in all ways as we are tempted. This should be a great encouragement never to give up. We can endure persecution just as Jesus endured the cross. He looked past the horror of the cross to enjoy the joy that was waiting for Him.
Running with Endurance
One of the most well-known characteristics of the torture of the cross was its extreme shame. Shame is a stumbling block to many Christians. Most Christians cannot endure shame or embarrassment from the world for following Jesus. It is disappointing that one is bold about everything else and cowardly about Jesus Christ. Jesus despised the cross, but He was patient and endured through it to victory. He bore a shameful accusation of blasphemy, mocking, thorns, wore a shameful robe, and bore a shameful mocking even as He prayed on the cross. Today, Jesus Christ is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. If we suffer with Jesus, we will also be glorified with Him. When we understand that Jesus is not requiring from us more than what He has experienced, we will not get weary and discouraged in the race of life.
Run your race to win the crown He has prepared for you.
(n.d.). Eternity Ministries. https://www.eternityministries.org/hikashop-menu-for-brands-listing/product/7-burning-love
Hebrews Chapter 12. (2018, August 24). Enduring Word. https://enduringword.com/bible-commentary/hebrews-12/
1 reply added
Truly ,it’s just by the Grace of God and not our sacrifices,we should learn to give God all his Glory
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