Get Into the Word:
"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run [their very best to win], but only one receives the prize? Run [your race] in such a way that you may seize the prize and make it yours! (1 Corinthians 9:24, AMP)
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverancethe race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." (Hebrews 12:1-3, NIV)
Ponder the Word:
My firstborn loves to win — at any cost. As soon as it's a contest, whether it be getting pyjamas on or finishing dinner, her competitive nature kicks in, often leaving her brother as the casualty. If he is in her way of her road to gold, she'll push right past him without a second thought. Competition with only one prize has casualties.
Earthly competition has only one gold and the Peyong Chang 2018 Olympic Games will declare only one country the winner. Is the same true of faith, or are the stakes different when it comes to eternity?
Paul invites us to run in such a way to win the prize, but there isn't only one. Scripture also instructs us to "run the race marked out for us." What if you were the only one running the race marked out for you? Would knowing that no one else is competing for your crown, change the way you run? The race set before you, is just that — your race. You're the only one running your race. The completely unique way your life puts God on display for His glory, woven together by your experiences, expertise, excitement, intuition and involvement, reflects Him in a way that no one else in this world does. Our abundantly creative God doesn't produce copycats. He's original.
But so often, instead of fixing our eyes on Jesus, and running the race set before us, we look to the runner beside, in front or behind us and we compete, compare and criticize. We speed up, slow down, or cut into their lane, all because we've been fooled into thinking there's only one prize. An earthly mindset tells us, that if they win, we lose. But the truth is, if he or she wins, we win. Anytime anyone who loves and follows hard after Jesus is running their race, helping others to do the same, God's kingdom is advancing.
There are many runners, all running with one goal — to know Him and make Him known, but not for one prize. You are free to run with others, championing their obedience and cheering them on because they aren't your competition. They are not competing for your gold; only you are.
Put on your shoes today and run your race — eyes on the prize (Jesus), in your own lane, and at your pace. And remember, you are free to invite others to do the same.
HE: Heavenly Father, Creator, you displayed incredible creativity at creation — the sun, moon and stars, rivers, oceans and lakes, mountains, valleys, beaches, and prairies, fruits, vegetables, trees, and flowers, animals, birds, and sea creatures, and you declared it all good. Man and woman you declared very good. Your creativity is endless and every creature is unique. There is a unique way You desire to make Yourself known to, in, and through me. Let Your kingdom rule in me and let Your will be done in my life.
ME: Give me wisdom to understand the way You have woven me together so I can make you known. Forgive me for comparing myself to others and thinking so little of your creativity that I would need to be a better version of someone else. Deliver me from the lies that I need to run someone else's race. Theirs is theirs. Mine is mine. We have one purpose and You are Lord of all of it.
WE: Empty me of fear, pride and selfishness that that thinks I need to be the best at something to matter. I'm here to bring you glory. Fill me with your Spirit so I can see You for who you are, creative Creator, and myself the way you see me, uniquely created by the ultimate Creative. Help me to champion others to run the race set out for them. All in Jesus' name, and only by grace, yours.
Tune in next week as we unpack verse 25, "What Gold Are We Going For?"
Praying for you as you run your race this week, eyes on Jesus, all for His glory!
Only by grace,
Jesus said, "Apart from me you can do nothing," so we don't need to try! Deepen your dialogue with God over Scripture you read today, and any other day. Let it be the first conversation of your day, but not the only. If you need a place to begin, start with Hebrews 12:1-3.
"With Him: HE/ME/WE Guide"(Click to download)
Want to begin uncovering the raw materials that make up your race? This will guide a conversation between you and God to unearth your experiences, expertise, excitement, intuition and involvement that shape the race that lies before you.
"The Raw Materials in Your Race"(Click to download)