Do you run to win?
Recently the Town of East Hartford sent me a memo to remind me of the annual Hartford marathon. The event is schedule for October, 12, 2013, and as usual all side streets along the marathon route will be close to vehicular traffic.
I am not a participant in the Hartford marathon, but the memo reminds me that I am an active participant in another event.. It is called the Christian race; which in itself is a marathon.
Not everyone who competes in the Hartford marathon or any other marathon runs to win. The competition is very stiff, and there is usually only one grand prize for one winner.
Unlike an athletic marathon, everyone who participates in the Christian race is a potential a winner. Nevertheless, the haunting question is: Do you run to win? Like the athletic marathon, many people who jump in the Christian race do not run to win. These are people who seek short-term results, such as notoriety, enhance credibility and sometimes a mate.
The Christian race is a lifelong activity. There are no short-term results. Over the course of your journey, you will encounter many bumps, sharp turns and steep climbs, trials, and tribulation. But if you run the race with patience and endure to the end as the beloved apostle advised you to, you will receive the greatest grand prize–life.
The writer of the Hebrews sums it up this way: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (Hebrews 12:1).
You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.
Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand— when I awake, I am still with you.
I will lift up my eyes to the hills—
From whence comes my help?
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.
He will not allow your foot to be moved;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, He who keeps Israel
Shall neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is your keeper;
The Lord is your shade at your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
Nor the moon by night.
The Lord shall keep you from all evil;
He shall preserve your soul.
The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in
From this time forth, and even forevermore.
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage” (Galatians 5:1). “Therefore, brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman” (Galatians 4:28)
I cannot recall the number of times I have heard my fellow Christian brothers and sisters repeated the phrase: “I want to love as Jesus does”. I have even used this phrase countless times. However, after careful examination of the life Jesus lived, and the things He did and stood for, when He walked this earth, I am convince human beings cannot love as Jesus does. Furthermore, Jesus did not tell humans to love like He does. He commanded them to love their neighbors with the same sincerity as they would themselves. The apostle John who was up close and personal with Jesus writes the following: “Greater love has no man than this that a man (Jesus) lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).