6th August 2012

Crossing The Finishing Line

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store 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 longed for his appearing.”
2 Timothy 4:7-8 (NIV)

Did you know that this year is an important year? Those who spend long hours in hard, exhausting work, in cold, wet, muddy conditions; endlessly warming up, cooling down, exercising, stretching, running, practising starting off from blocks, carrying high jump poles, counting and measuring their strides – they definitely know. It’s Olympic year. Once every four years they get the chance to compete against the best that the rest of the world has to offer in the same sport. Most will not make it that far; they will not qualify to race in the Olympics.

So how will they match up against the others? Who will win? Who will lose? Who will be the fastest, jump the highest or longest, get the highest marks? They train for one chance of glory–after all, who remembers who came second? (1 Corinthians 9:24)

For us as Christians, our training is no less rigorous or intense:  In wet, muddy and cold conditions; practising, measuring, stretching and exercising. Our tools are prayer, bible study, meditation and fasting, all of which need discipline, all achieve different results; but each is a piece of the whole Christian.

So how do we match up against others? We are not competing with others–in our race we only have to cross the finishing line of the race that we have started. How we run that race is up to us. Do we help others on the way, spreading the gospel and making disciples as we go as it encourages in Matthew 28:19-20? For some the race is hard, long and rocky, with many twists and turns; for others it is straight, flat and smooth with a wind behind our backs.

Just as athletes compete in a stadium full of spectators, so do we (Hebrews 12:1). In the Olympics the winner ‘gets the gold’, but for Christians, all who cross the finishing line receive a ‘crown of life’! (1 Corinthians 9:25).

Dear Father, do guide us all as we run the ‘race of life’. Help us to see that we are not on our own – that you are with us always, however difficult our circumstances may get. Also, please give us a vision in our hearts of the prize awaiting us all – a wonderful crown of righteousness, won for us by your Son, Jesus Christ.

Study by Rosemary Gent

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