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Monday, August 29, 2011

Winning the Race

Winning the Race

The story was told of a hare and a tortoise; the hare was boasting of his speed and how nobody could beat him in a race. The tortoise accepted his challenge. The hare raced ahead and decided because he was so far ahead that he would take a nap, and lie down and show up the tortoise. The tortoise kept up the pace and by the time the hare woke up the tortoise was nearing the finish line. It was too late for the hare to catch up. I believe as children of God there are lessons that can be learned from this fable. As Christians we are running a race as well. The Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 9:24-25, “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 are imperishable”. Here are several things for us to keep in mind as we run the Christian race.

1)      Steady wins the race. In the fable the hare was very quick compared to the slow tortoise. However although the tortoise was slow, he was steady. In order to win a race a good pace is essential. If a runner tries to run too fast they will likely run out of steam before the finish line. If they run too slow they will never get there. In the Christian life if you run too fast you may make a decision that God would not want you to make, after all the devil is out there  “seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). The Proverbs writer said, “Desire without knowledge is not good, and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way”.

2)      Take a break, and it may be too late. In the fable, the hare thought that he was doing well and decided to take a break. This break ended up being his demise. As Christians we must not take breaks from the Christian way because we never know when it might be too late. We must be wary of those trying to lead us off the path of righteousness. The devil will try to get us to stray off the path just a little bit just like the hare did, however we must resist. In reference to the devil,  1 Peter 5:9 says, “resist him, firm in your faith…” We must do our best to continually stay on the path to righteousness.

3)      Have endurance, keep goal in sight. In Hebrews 12:1 the bible says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith…” There will be times in the race that we will get tired. However when that happens we must endure. We must use the cloud of witnesses. We must look to Jesus, as our motivation. It is essential that in order to not get burdened down on the race path we lay aside the weight of the sin slowing us down and making us tired! In order for us to do this we must keep the finish line in sight that was made possible for us by Christ. There will come a time in which this world will end and there will be a judgment day (2 Corinthians 5:10). Our life on this earth is like the fog in the morning it is only here for a short time (James 4:14). We must stay on the path.

How are you doing in your race? Are you like the tortoise or the hare? Will you be able to say what Paul did in 2 Timothy 4:7-8, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing”.

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