Early childhood memories find each of us standing on the starting line. We can still hear echoes of the physical education teacher’s voice carrying above the excitement of the students. “On your mark, get set,” then the shrill whistle mobilizes all and the young charges storm toward the finish line. The goal remains in sight and edges closer and closer until one lone runner crosses the line to accept the winner’s place.
Our Christian race begins much the same. Excitement explodes as we experience our own “Pentecost.” A poster hanging on a wall of the church we pastor reads, “Attitude, the greatest thing in the world is not so much where we stand, but in which direction we are going.”
Aligning ourselves with biblical principles is often accompanied by many questions and study. As any seasoned runner knows, careful observation of the opponent is imperative to gain success. Questions and concerns meet answers within the pages of God’s Word, the “roadmap” for His children.
As I endeavor to climb yet another “rung” in my walk with the Lord, I find myself taking a deep breath as I propel myself upward with a whisper of, “Get ready, get set, go!” I know opposition will follow as I strive to become a reflection of Christ. The enemy always tries to thwart the progress of God’s children. In the Book of Nehemiah, Tobiah came to intimidate the prophet and the saints of God. Nehemiah fielded each blow of his opponent’s attempts, all the while gaining strength, courage, and determination. (Read Nehemiah 4.)
A Christian song states, “If you only knew what I was gonna be, after the storm, you would not even bother me” (Tye Tribbett and G.A., “I Want It All Back,” Victory – Live). Our country’s first “First Lady,” Martha Washington, aptly stated, “I’ve learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions and not our circumstances.”
The enemy of our soul attempts various methods of approach. We must guard our thoughts and take courage in our daily walk, knowing we are victorious through Christ.
The apostle Paul conveniently reminds us in I Corinthians,
“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. …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” (9:24, 26-27, NKJV).
Before you think this Christian race involves only the swift-footed, let me direct you further to II Timothy 4:7-8 where Paul contends,
“I have finished the race [notice he doesn’t say he placed first, or even second], I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only, but also to all who have loved His appearing” (NKJV).
Let me encourage you all. Stay in the race; keep the faith. You are almost to the finish line. Run with me—we’ll cross it together! Get ready, get set, go!
Reprinted with permission from Reflections magazine.