Friday, February 17, 2006
Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 1 Corinithians 9:24-25
One of my seminary professors used to say, “The devil knows what we want, and what we half want.” For example, many would say they want to eat better – but their lifestyle proves they only “half want” to eat better. It’s not a want that is strong enough to break bad habits or resist another slice of pizza.
On the other hand, those who compete for Olympic gold have clearly set their sights on something they want – really want – and are willing to train their body and their wills in order to obtain it. Even if they fall short of the gold, they have experienced something unforgettable.
No wonder the Apostle Paul in the New Testament frequently refers to the Olympics when describing the Christian life. We should want – really want – the eternal rewards that surpass Olympic gold. If we only half want it, the devil knows it and will easily find ways to slow us down or trip us up.
Now, this realization can lead you to despair or lead you to prayer. It could (and should) lead to despair if you view the spiritual competition as a “one on one” against the devil. If you acknowledge your weakness, and his wiles, what hope is there?
However, victory in the spiritual contest is made possible by One working within us who can exceed our feeble desires. If we realize this, we will be led to prayer: “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come [in me!], thy will be done [in me!]…” We should also remember that we are on a team, and pray not only for ourselves but for our fellow runners: “Our Father… Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
Let’s pray for God’s power to enable us to run our race. Eternal rewards are never stripped away.
Posted by Ken at 9:33 AM