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Aug 30, 2008

Spritual Sundays - Running the Race

Summer is winding down, school bells are ringing, and the 2008 Olympics have become recorded history. America was awarded with 110 medals and swimmer Michael Phelps received an unprecedented 8 gold medals, surpassing the world records of Mark Spitz and other champions.

It's amazing to watch buff bodies accomplish fantastic feats. However, ultimately, the Olympics are about perseverance, tenacity, and the overcoming spirit. Each athlete's story speaks to our own spiritual race...

In one particular event, the 4th and 5th place runners were moved to the 2nd and 3rd place positions after it was determined that 2 runners had stepped on lines—more than once. It seemed anticlimactic for the two US runners to accept those medals. In their minds, violation or not, the disqualified runners had still finished faster.

In track, the rules are strict. A sprint runner is confined to one lane. Runners are immediately disqualified for false starts, stepping on or over lines, or if there is interference of any kind.

The Bible compares our lives, also, to a race. So what's the difference between worldly and spiritual races? The biggest factor is God's GRACE. Spiritually, we should have been disqualified a long time ago. We've all violated the rules. Yet, God has graciously permitted us to continue. Can we be disqualified? Yes, if we choose to run our coarse without Jesus Christ.

Each race is uniquely designed and no one can run our race for us. It isn't a competition. We cheer for one another. We are instructed to run with excellence, drawing our strength from Jesus, who willingly entered his own race to endure the Cross.

So, what about those 2 runners who received medals by default? There's no doubt that it was an awkward moment for all but the gold medalist. Should they apologize or disqualify their accomplishment? God would say no. They submitted to the rules of the race. They ran with excellence. They finished.

Philippians 3:12 (The Message) - Focused on the Goal
12-14 I'm not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don't get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I've got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I'm off and running, and I'm not turning back.
2 Timothy 4:7 (The Message)
6-8 You take over. I'm about to die, my life an offering on God's altar. This is the only race worth running. I've run hard right to the finish, believed all the way. All that's left now is the shouting—God's applause! Depend on it, he's an honest judge. He'll do right not only by me, but by everyone eager for his coming.

12 comments:

Carolyn (sea mystery) said...

Very nice and so true. I hope we can all believe that we will reach that goal when God is ready for us. xxoo

Kathi~Lavender, Lace and Thyme said...

I love your thoughts and verses, I long to finish the race and finish it well for the ultimate prize.

Have a Blessed Sonday!
Kathi :)

Clif said...

GRACE! I even like the sound of it. Yes, we are running the race and it will be by grace that we end up in the "right" place. Soldier on!

Cherdecor said...

"Drawing our strength from Jesus".

All of us Christians are running but I think that drawing our strength from the Lord in service is key to the prize. Everyone can serve or run, but drawing strength from the Lord is only something that can be done if connected to Him.

You have GREAT insight here. Only in recent years have I "caught on".

Great post!

Charlotte said...

How appropriate to use the scriptures about running the race with the Olympics just behind us. Thank you for your part in making Spiritual Sundays successful.
Blessings,
Charlotte

ginger at enchanting cottage said...

What a great post! I pray that I will finish the race with grace!Thank-you so much for sharing your thoughts with everyone here on Spiritual Sunday.
God Bless,
Ginger

kari and kijsa said...

Great post!
Thank you for all your prayers and blessings!
Have a wonderful Labor Day,
kari & kijsa

Beverly said...

Great post, KJ. I enjoyed the way you drew the two themes into one.

All races are worth the effort - winning is just a bonus.

NeereAnDear said...

Hey there.... seems since I have been out of touch I have missed a lot on your blog lately...

I must say I really enjoyed the way you used the comparisons in this story.... fantastic... truly makes one think ...

Love the new banner and the wall paper is quite colorful!!! I LOVE IT...

HUGS

JO

Betty said...

Very uplifting post for Spiritual Sunday. Yes, we are to forever run the race toward our goal - heaven.

Thank you for visiting my Spirtual Sunday post.

Kate said...

I have been a long-time follower of Martin Luther's teachings from both Romans and Galations--and they are all about Grace. Thank you so much for sharing this beautifully written teaching on my very favorite subject!

Love,

Kate.

Peggy said...

Blessings KJ...what a wonderful way to summarize this great Olympic of 2008 and the comparison to our spiritual one. I truly enjoyed this!

Thank you for visiting my place and commenting on Max Lucado! Let me know if you read this book! (maybe a library may have it or a discount).However, you usually can go wrong with any of his books! I get a weekly glimpse of his works through UPWORDS with Max Lucado!