“Run with endurance the race that God has set before you”
Here’s the point: In this race that God has placed us in, called life, it is not necessary to cross the finish line first to receive the prize. The prize is Jesus Christ, and all that is necessary for us to win this race and receive our prize is that we not quit, and we stay in faith!
Discipline in a Long-Distance Race
1-3Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on?
It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit!
No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in.
Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God.
When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!
God has a race for you to run! What a challenging and exciting thought—God has given me a race to run. God has designed a purpose for my life—a purpose that I can discover and fulfill. What is this race?
(Note: This race begins, not when we are born into the world, but it begins when we receive Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour and make Him Lord of our life; this happens when we are born-again; as we receive his gift of complete forgiveness and restoration back into God’s family.)
My thanks go out to Manna Ko today for posting the above video on her Facebook page.
It is an excellent illustration of what the above verses of scripture are talking about.
How God has placed each of us in a race; and as the Apostle Paul said, for us to run this race we must discipline our bodies, and build our strength and endurance, that we may persevere and win the prize.
This prize however is the same prize that Jesus spoke of in the parable of the Workers in the Vineyard, spoken here as wages; where this landowner goes out in the early morning hours to hire laborers for his field, and they agree to work for a denarius a day.
He then goes out about 9 am and when he sees others standing idle, he says to them, “Go into my vineyard, and whatever is right I will give you.”
Once again at noon and again at three o’clock he did the same thing.
Then at five o’clock that afternoon he went into town once again and saw some more people standing around; and so he asked them, “Why haven’t you been working today?”
They replied, “Because no one hired us.”
The landowner told them, “Then go out and join the others in my vineyard.”
Then on that evening he told the foreman to call the workers in and pay them, beginning with the last workers first.
When those hired at five o’clock were paid, each received a full day’s wage.
When those hired first came to get their pay, they assumed they would receive more; but they, too, were paid a day’s wage.
When they received their pay, they protested to the owner saying, “Those people worked only one hour, and yet you’ve paid them just as much as you paid us who worked all day in the scorching heat.”
The owner of the vineyard answered one of them, “Friend, I haven’t been unfair! Didn’t you agree to work all day for the usual wage of one denarius? Take your money and go.”
“If I wanted to pay this last worker the same as you, is it against the law? Can I not do what I want with my money?
Should you be jealous because I am kind to these others?”
You will note that it was only the laborers who were hired first who went into the field to work only after agreeing on a wage of one denarius a day; the rest went in faith, because the master said “He would give them what was right.”
And as the Bible also says, “Those who are last now will be first then, and those who are first will be last.”
We can learn from these stories that God’s ways of doing things and thinking are very different from the world; and if we are going to be His disciples the Bible clearly says that we have to learn His ways, and even it says we are to put on the mind of Christ.
How that happens is that we make choices when confronted with trails and challenges in our life; and we do this after our having meditated upon God’s Word, where we acquaint ourselves with His ways of doing and thinking, as the Holy Spirit rewrites our internal software, our source code for our lives; and replaces the sin ridden, virus infected, software of the world.
This experience cannot be had or learned vicariously, but it must be experienced and lived out in our life, as we persevere through the fiery trials of our life.
In the same way you cannot learn to swim by watching a movie or reading a book; you have to jump in the water!
Life is like that, and the challenges for the child of God, we will soon find out, are all prearranged and really they are a setup; and this is true whether it is good things or bad things that have happened to us.
We can learn this lesson from the story of Job, in the Bible, where Satan comes before God, from wandering to and fro in the earth; and God says to ole ‘slue foot,’ “Have you considered my servant Job?”
To which Satan answers, “You have built a hedge around his life, and I can’t get to him; you remove the hedge, let me at him, and then see how faithful he is!”
So we can learn from this that even though Job lost everything, it was Satan who is the destroyer who attacked Him, but God allowed it, for a reason; and so it is with us.
The reason is to train us and build us up, in preparation for the destiny God has prepared for us, in His service; and to mold us also into the image of Christ Jesus our Lord.
The Bible even says of Jesus (in Hebrews 5:8) that He learned obedience through the things He suffered… and so should we expect any different in our life?
There is a saying that is often used in gyms that says, “No pain, no gain;” and that is true in our spiritual walk as well.
We must understand that whatever challenges we face in life, and as much as we cry and holler for God to save us and rescue us; what God wants to see first, and mind you He watches us closely in order to monitor our reaction, is what is our attitude while in the fire? Who or what are we looking to as our Source and what truly makes up our foundation? Is it made of silver and gold, or wood, hay, and stubble?
Have we constructed our house on solid rock, or on shifting sands?
The outcome will determine the material that was used, and whether we persevere through the fiery trails, or are washed out by them… it all will depend on whether we followed the instructions of our Lord and obeyed Him, or not?
And here is the point, as illustrated in the above video; when we fall, and rest assured we ALL stumble and fall in this race; we don’t stay and cry there in that fallen place, we get back up as this runner did, and we get back into the race, because the goal is to cross the finish line; and as we will note in the video, it was his dad who came and helped him to cross; and so will our Heavenly Father do for us!
Just remember that life for God’s children is a setup, from start to finish, and as long as we remain in the race, in faith, and don’t quit, we are all assured of winning our prize! Selah