“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. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2 (NIV)
I thank God for His blessing on our Vacation Bible School! We had a wonderful group of children attend, excellent coaches and assistant coaches and I think we all had a great time learning about Joshua and the Race of Life. Many thanks to everyone who volunteered and donated and prayed to make this happen. And a special thanks to Carol Holzman and Carol Williams as director and co-director!
The Olympian theme is obviously timely, but also gives us all an opportunity to consider the many metaphors in Scripture that correspond to the imagery of the Christian life as a race. And being a big fan of sports and cheering on the USA over in London, I particularly appreciated the reminder that being a Christian is a wholehearted, full-time endeavor. We are all on either God’s team or we’re competing against Him. And when we’re on His team, none of us are bench-warmers – we all have a race to run! Praise God for His promise never to leave us or forsake us (Joshua 1:5).
But there is an interesting truth about running a race: we don’t get to choose the course. Just so with our lives. While there certainly are some choices we get to make, there are obviously others that are completely outside of our control. God in His providence causes us to be born into one family and not another, for instance. So how do we respond to the various obstacles and opportunities that God sets before us? The various challenges we face do give us a chance to exercise our faith and strengthen our character. That is what Paul teaches in Romans 5:3-4 and James says something very similar in chapter 1:2-4. And we are successful because of Christ in us, we do not rely on our own strength, but pray for God’s grace and strength for every situation. Again, Paul, when he talks about learning to be content whatever the circumstances concludes by stating, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength” (Phil. 4:13).
I pray that as we go through the trials of this life, and the sweat and tears that accompany those trials, that we would be able to see the Holy Spirit at work in our life, training us in everything to be godly. “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” (1 Tim. 4:8). May we all keep our focus on Jesus and prize Him above all else, living for His glory, and as we run, may we feel His smile. Let me conclude with Heb. 12:3 “Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
Amen and God bless you,