Last week we discussed exploring our shape (both inside and out) and embracing our uniqueness and potential.
So, I'll take my advice and “do me” by freely admitting my limitations in the athletic department.
I am no athlete and have never been particularly fond of sports in general.
Maybe that makes me strange, but you know what? That's OK because I’m embracing my shape.
Now, that isn’t to say that I can’t appreciate what goes into being an athlete.
Professional athletes understand their capabilities and appreciate how their body needs to train to excel. Those at the top of their game have mastered the art of practice, training, dedication, discipline, and determination.
Practice does make perfect.
Now, not many of us are professed athletes, so why should we care about athletic abilities and training? What does this have to do with our shape?
Because we are ALL in a race. (Some of us don't realize it!)
The race of life.
All races have a beginning, an end, participants, a course and a goal or prize.
Life is no different and we all have our distinctive race to run.
The Bible speaks to this directly with clear instructions for our training and success:
We see in Hebrews 12:1-2 a call to our specific race:
“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 perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”
In 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 we are instructed to train and develop the self-discipline to achieve our prize:
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore, I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”
Lastly, the Apostle Paul tells us in Philippians 3:13-14 how to run for success:
“Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
Paul shows us that looking back, dwelling on the past or even looking around and comparing ourselves to others hinders our race. We should actively stretch forward, straining with focus on our goal.
Much like an athlete who is running a race, we should press forward focusing on what is ahead and not glancing backward. Looking back only slows the runner down and increases the chances of the runner veering off-course or worse yet, stumbling and falling! Ruining their race.
As we mature in our walk with Christ, may we recognize our unique race, understand the need for training and self-discipline and focus our eyes straight ahead- not glancing backward or sideways trying to measure our progress based on past performance or the performance of others.
God only knows the course and the destination of your unique race- trust in Him to guide you and sustain you because the prize He has in store for you is one-of-a-kind!
Thank you, Lord, for this race of life. You know the course, the participants and the destination. You are with us along the way providing encouragement, guidance, strength, and ability. Help us to focus on you and your word so that we may endure and look to you when we stumble, believing in faith that you will pick us up and place us safely back in the race. Help us to finish our race well.
“Great are your purposes and mighty are your deeds. Your eyes are open to the ways of all mankind; you reward each person according to their conduct and as their deeds deserve.” ~Jeremiah 32:19