This week's devotions are taken from a recent series of posts on Pastor Greg's blog. To see his latest blog entry, click here.
As we are now officially in 2009, we need to remember that we are running a spiritual race.
In Acts 20, we find the apostle's Paul's words to the leaders of the church in Ephesus. These were things that really mattered to the great apostle.
He writes in verse 24, "But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord."
Paul used the analogy of a runner in a race many times in his writings. Each one of these instances reminds us of a different aspect of running the race of life.
We must run to win
1 Corinthians 9:24 says, "Remember that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize" (NLT).
In other words, you also must run in such a way that you will win! There is no point in running for second or third place. Go for the gold! Don't settle for mediocrity as a follower of Jesus.
Understand, however, that your "opponents" are not fellow Christians. I am not running the race of life to beat you or anyone else. Our competitors are the world, the flesh, and the devil.
Be careful to not get off track
Galatians 5:7 says, "You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth?" (NIV)
Sometimes, due to poor choices in friends and companions, we get "off track." They tend to drag us away from our commitment, instead of encouraging us in it. At the very least, they slow us down. At worst, they sidetrack us.
Don't look back
Philippians 3:14-16 reads, "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. So let's keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you'll see it yet! Now that we're on the right track, let's stay on it" (THE MESSAGE).
So, how are you doing?
How did you do in this regard last year? Have you gotten off track, or are you running for the gold?
Have any relationships or things slowed you down in your pursuit of God?
Copyright © 2009 by Harvest Ministries. All rights reserved.
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Bible text from the New King James Version is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Attn: Bible Rights and Permissions, P.O. Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214-1000
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