Run Your Race Of Faith Without Being Tragically Disqualified
You can run your race of faith without being tragically disqualified. So can I. We have all the help we need accessible to us through our Father. Paul writes these words to the Corinthian believers to encourage them. They lived in a city that had all kinds of licentiousness going on, but he wanted them to be mindful and to run to win. He says;
"'Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.' (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)"
I am not referring to being disqualified for eternal life, but rather disqualified in our current opportunities of service, witness, or work for the Lord. How we conduct ourselves matters, and it is critical for you to run your race well. The same is true for me. We represent the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. God gives us incredible freedom to operate and be a 'witness' for him. We can be drawing people to him by the way we live, or pushing people farther from the truth.
It is important for you and I to be as authentic as possible. Be genuine. Be kind, and above all we DO NOT want to be viewed as weirdo's that are all talk with different actions. By this I mean we do not want to be seen as hypocritical, telling one story about the way we live when we are living another life. People can see through that nonsense and it can cause them to see God as flaky and fake. He is not! So how do we accomplish this? By being mindful of the story our actions, decisions and words are telling all who are watching.
The road of life is said to be littered with good intentions, unwritten goals and unfulfilled dreams. I get this...but I am not willing for it to be littered with my good intentions, my unwritten goals, and my unfulfilled dreams any more. My goal is for me to actively pursue life in all of it's abundance. My prayer is for this to be so for me to run my race well, and also for you to run your race well. As we get older, it is easy to accept cynicism as our mantra...but what is this doing for us but giving us an excuse to give up?
In the Old Testament, Elijah was a great prophet, who called down fire and called for the rains to stop. He got to be a part of really cool miracles. But after the battle with all the prophets on Mount Carmel, Elijah becomes weary, tired and afraid. Jezebel, the wife of King Ahab, is determined to find him and kill him. This story is found in 1 Kings, starting in chapter 16 (Well worth the read). So Elijah runs from her and hides in a cave. God appears to him there, and it is really interesting to read about (I Kings 19:9b-18);
"And the word of the LORD came to him, 'What are you doing here, Elijah?' He replied, 'I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.' The LORD said, 'Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.' Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. After the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, 'What are you doing here, Elijah?' He replied, 'I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.' The LORD said to him, 'Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. Also, anoint Jesu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. Jehu will put to death amy who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu. Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel - all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him.'"
Elijah had lost his focus. God gave him a second chance to correct his focus when he passed him by and then asked him the question again, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" Elijah didn't re-examin his thinking, though, and so God put into play a plan to replace him. I don't want that for my life, or for yours. We want to stay in the game. It some days encourages me to say to myself...'Self, run your race well today!" Whatever motivates you, one thing I know: We can do this!
The answer? Run your race of faith purposely, intently and joyously. Live life to the fullest. Embrace all that it has. Be free to live and love and give. Give of your heart. Give of your time. Give of your whole being. Enjoy people. Enjoy being active, and enjoy the pursuit. Open your heart to the Holy Spirit for direction. God wants you and I to succeed. Take the pressure off of yourself and trying to be perfect, and instead love the journey and the day-to-day 'real-ness' of life.
As always, please be encouraged to leave comments. You can also visit my website, www.LoveLife2Day.com and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I also go live every day on Facebook at 11:30 am (EST) with Word Up on my LoveLife2Day page. Word Up is a daily reading program where we are going Genesis to Revelation (reading through the whole Bible) during the course of this year, 2017. The reading schedule is posted on my website (www.LoveLife2Day.com). Have a great day!