I love the pageantry, challenge, and thrill of the Olympics. I am drawn to the underdog, wincing at their every stumble and cheering them on as they complete the race, even if they come in last. At every Olympic Games, there seems to be a previously unknown athlete who captures global attention by overcoming insurmountable obstacles to propel past the projected winners.
It is easy to understand why Paul mentions running the good race several times in his letters to the early church. I often meditate on these references as I watch the games.
Hebrews 12:1-3 – “Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
What race are you running? Does the finish line seem far away? Have you hit the proverbial wall? Do doubt and discouragement threaten to trip you up? Keep your eyes on the prize. Firmly ground your faith in truth. In Christ, we are more than conquerors. Don’t lose heart! There is a vast throng of spectators cheering you on from the stands.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 – “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So, run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So, I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.”
Do you have loved ones who are running a spiritual marathon? Spur them on with written words of encouragement. Be their greatest fan! Watch for opportunities to refresh them with a drink of living water; offer a comforting hug, give them a hand up when they stumble. Rejoice with them as they complete a particularly challenging section of their race. Offer to be their spiritual coach, nutritionist, or medic as the Lord prompts!
Think of practical ways you can be a spiritual coach, nutritionist, or medic to a friend.
If you are struggling, identify distractions and find ways to either remove those distractions or better manage them. Keep in the race and keep your eyes on the prize.
All Bible verses, unless otherwise attributed, are from the English Standard Version (ESV).
Until Next Week
©2017 Katherine Walden
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