I’ve never been an athlete. My so called ‘athletic ability’ goes about as far as saying that I love to walk. I can almost guarantee that you will never catch me signing up for a race unless I have the option to walk and enjoy the journey along the way.
In the book of Hebrews, Paul compares our Christian walk to a race, but not just any race. It’s a grand race to heaven where multitudes that have gone on before are cheering us on to the finish line. Can you imagine that scene? They are roaring on the sidelines encouraging us to make it to the end!
In Junior High, I was the last person to grab the baton and was getting ready to run the last stretch of the race to the finish line. I felt confident and perhaps a bit giddy with the thought of victory with my limited athletic skills. My team was going to win and I was going to take us to victory! Everyone was cheering me on, including my coach. It felt amazing!
Paul, as our spiritual Brother, and coach in the Lord, compares our spiritual walk to running a race, and gives us 4 tips to help us train to optimal fitness in our Christian relay.
1. Lay aside every weight
When choosing clothing, athletes will make sure they are wearing near weightless fabrics with the garments cut in a very streamlined fashion. The garment choice and cut is critical so the excess fabric doesn’t hold the runner back. There are things in our Christian walk that aren’t neccesarily a sin but that will weigh us down. The Greek word for weight is whatever is prominent, extra bulk, extra mass, a burden and something that encumbers us. Is there something slowing you down? Are you clinging to something that you can cast along to the side of the road to quicken your pace?
2. Cast off your sin
Let’s look at the motives of our hearts. Sin can be packaged in beautiful wrappings. Everything can seem perfect from outside appearances but what about the ‘little’ sins? What about sinning in anger and lashing out at those we love? Do we discount it as a normal reaction? What about impatience? What about a root of bitterness that we have allowed to grow and flourish in our hearts towards family members, church family or aquaintances? Dear Sister, I challenge you to cast it aside and lighten your load! There is freedom in Christ!
3. Run with Patience
You might feel like the last one who was chosen to be on the team, but let me assure you, God chose YOU. Your pace might be slow and you might be getting frustrated by other Christians who are racing ahead of you with speed and agility, but Sister, you are still in God’s Amazing Race! God uses you right where you are so learning to be patient with yourself is a must. In the Greek, patience means steadfastness, constancy, endurance. Sister~ You are still in God’s Amazing Race!
Steady she goes! Do not give up!
4. Look unto Jesus
Who are you looking to in your Faith? People will disapoint you, but Jesus will never let you down. Are you constantly looking to other runners and trying to catch up to them? Do you compare yourself with others?
Have you ever heard of a pacesetter? A pacesetter is one who runs next to you, sets your pace, so you don’t exhaust yourself before you have time to complete your race. There are those that start big and end up being sidelined because they used up all of their energy before the finish line. Sad to say, it’s usually the ones that we are trying to keep up with or compare ourselves with. Jesus is our pacesetter. Don’t get ahead of Him and keep your eyes on Him!
About that race in Junior High… I looked over my shoulder and noticed the opposing team had put their strongest runner last. Her name was Doreen and she was fast. I should have kept my eyes on the goal ahead of me, instead of continuing to look over my shoulder to see where she was. She was slowly gaining on me, and, second by second the distance between us got smaller and smaller. Her breathing was getting louder and I could hear the rhythm of her feet closing in.
I’d love to tell you that I won that race, but sadly, I lost. The good thing is that I learned a life lesson.
Even if I wasn’t the winner, I still finished the race.
Sister, Encourage yourself in the Lord! Lay aside every weight, cast off your sin, run with patience the race that is set before you and Look unto Jesus! The crowds are cheering your name as they sit on the sidelines! Our Precious Lord is waiting for you at the finish line with arms open wide!
Runner, when the race is won, you will run into His arms!
Lovely Friends! Let’s Connect!!!
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