Running The Christian Race
By Cobblestone Road Ministries
Cobblestone Road Ministries Website
The Bible Gateway - Gospelcom.net
Bible Verse Links - A word of warning: The Bible Gateway - Gospelcom.net site gives the user access to some very helpful tools for Bible study. While the default version is the KJV, several modern versions of the Bible, including the NIV, NASB, NLT, among others, are also available. By having this link I am not promoting, nor do I condone, the use of these versions. In my humble opinion, you should use the KJV only.
Hebrews 12:1-2: Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
1 Corinthians 9:24-25: Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.
Have you ever run in a long distance race? Toward the end, you start getting weary and your body starts aching. You get a sharp pain in your side and you are out of breath. I remember running in high school. Each year, the students were required to run a mile and a half in under 25 minutes. Some students jogged around the track, and some ran very fast. Others, who ran out of steam, simply walked very fast. The key was to keep on moving and eventually, each of us would finish the race. Our teacher did not really care who came in first or who came in last, as long as each of us finished the race.
We, as believers in Jesus, are running the Christian Race and pressing toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. We are moving forward and not looking back. Acts 17:28a says, "For in him we live, and move, and have our being..." The Lord enables us to run victoriously. As believers in Christ Jesus, we are all in this race together. There are no losers in Christ-- only winners. Each one of us is running for the incorruptible crown.
Galatians 6:9: And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
2 Thessalonins 2:16-17: Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.
Let us hold fast to our doctrine and be careful to examine all things according to the Scriptures.
2 John 1:9: Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.
THE RUNNER MUST HAVE SPEED
"...let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us..."
In order to win a race, a runner must have speed and pace themselves. A runner in a race would look rather silly trying to win a race with two hundred pounds of stuff on his back. The weight would slow him down. We, as followers of Jesus, must also be without burdens upon our backs in order to run the Christian race. Many times, we tend to carry the weight of the world upon our shoulders. We have much "baggage" at times. All of us have troubles and sometimes, instead of giving them over to the Lord and trusting Him, we carry our burdens around with us. The Bible tells us in
1 Peter 5:7 "Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you." (See our article:
GIVE YOUR BURDENS TO THE LORD)
Galatians 6:2: Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
As Christians, we are commanded to bear one another's burdens. This means as each of us runs the Christian race, we are to help one another-- whether it be a material need or a spiritual need. We are to pray for one another and encourage one another. We are to give to our brethren that do not have. We are to lend a helping hand to one who needs our help.
1 John 4:12: No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.
1 John 3:23: And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.
THE RUNNER MUST STAY FOCUSED
Hebrews 11:6: But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
In a race, the runner has a goal-- an aim to which he is striving for-- and he must stay focused on reaching that goal. If he were to start looking all around in every direction as he was running, he would lose pace and might even lose his balance and stumble. We, as Christians, should not be looking all around us but rather should focus our attention upon the Lord Jesus Christ. When we give the Lord our burdens, trusting Him to handle our burdens and troubles, we will find Him to be EVERYTHING that we need. When we cast off the sin of unbelief and trust in the Lord, we find that He is able to answer our prayers. God is the able one above all able ones. In fact, the word, "king" originates from a word which means "the able one". And God is the Able One above all Able Ones.
Speaking of Jesus, the Bible records that He has a name written: Revelation 19:16: And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
We must stay focused and keep our eyes upon Jesus. He is our reward. The Lord said to Abraham in Genesis 15:1: After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.
Colossians 3:24: Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.
1 John 5:11: And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
Dr. H. A. Ironside said, "We do not become holy by looking into our own hearts. There we find only corruption. But as we look away from self altogether, "Looking unto Jesus," as He is the object in which we delight, as we contemplate His holiness, purity, love, and compassion, His devotion to the Father's will, we shall be transformed, imperceptibly to ourselves, perhaps, but none the less surely, into His blessed image. "
Philippians 3:14: I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
2 John 1:8: Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.
The world races for the corruptible crown but we, as christians, run for the incorruptible crown. We know whom we serve. We each have a purpose in Christ Jesus. We know our Savior and He is our Guide along life's way. We must keep our eyes upon Jesus, knowing that soon and very soon we are going to see Him face to face.
What is God's will for our life here upon this earth? We must be led by Him and serve Him in whatever task He has called us to do. Matthew 12:50 [Jesus said] For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.
2 Corinthians 4:18: While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
So while the world rushes to acquire material things in coveteousness, let us be as Abraham who looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. (see Hebrews 11:10)
James 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
1 John 2:17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
H.A. Ironside wrote: There are five crowns: the incorruptible crown for faithfully running the course; the crown of rejoicing for winning souls; the crown of righteousness for those who love His appearing; the crown of life for those who suffer for Christ; the crown of glory for those who feed the sheep and lambs of Christ’s flock. I might lose all of those crowns and yet not lose my salvation. The Word says, “If any man’s work shall be burned. . . .he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire”
1 Corinthians 3:15. But I do not want to be saved that way. I want to win the crown of life. “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life...”
Serving the Lord in all we do, running the race to the finish line and at the end of our earthly life, we will be able to say as did the Apostle Paul: 2 Timothy 4:7-8: I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
Just as a runner must rest after his race, so will the Christian enter into joy of the Lord when the Christian Race of life is through. May we run the race diligently until the Lord calls us home-- serving Him in all that we do that we may hear those beautiful words, "Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord."
Ephesians 3:20: Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Ephesians 3:21: Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
Revelation 22:12: [Jesus says] And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
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