pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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The Race

Reading: Philippians 3: 4b-14

Verse 12a: “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect…”

In our passage today, Paul uses the analogy of running a race. To run a race requires some practice and training if we are to run the race well. Paul is thinking in terms of a prize, so preparation is essential. When applied to our faith journey, the preparation required is a daily effort. We must spend time reading and studying our Bibles, praying,… each day. We cannot prepare every once in a while and expect to do well in our race. Our journey of faith is a daily race.

The race we run is not a 100-yard dash or a 1/4 mile race. It is not even a marathon. Our journey of faith is a race that encompasses a lifetime. Our race begins the day we accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and it ends the day we draw our last breath. It is a long race. It is a hard race. But we do not race alone. First, Jesus Christ dwells in us as the Holy Spirit, leading and guiding, directing and correcting. Second, we run with others – our brothers and sisters in Christ. Yes, there is much encouragement to be had as we run our race.

Encouragement is important because the race is not always run on a perfectly flat track. Much of the race is run on a pretty steady course, but not all of it. At times our course will dip down into the valleys and we will have times when the path is quite rocky. We will also have moments when we find our path is atop The mountain and we feel like we are running on a cloud. The ups and downs are part of our race. We learn and grow, we discover more about God and ourselves, we persevere and develop trust. The Holy Spirit and the faithful remain present in the good and the bad. At times we too are blessed to be a brother or sister helping someone else along their race. We are all ever a work in progress. Paul puts it this way: “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect…”. Yet he presses on.

Today is another day to run the race. As we live out our faith today, may we run the race well.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for all those times when you were there for me – to encourage me, to lift me up, to carry me. Open my eyes to see the opportunities you give me to help others on their races. Amen.

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Conquering

Today’s passage is about love.  If we love God, we are His children and we will obey His commands.  If we obey His commands, we will love our fellow man.  The passage even tells us that God’s commands are not burdensome.

They may not be burdensome but they are not always easy either.  To love ALL of my fellow man is hard at times.  Friends and family can put this to the test at times too.  To really live into the command to love others as Jesus first loved us is difficult.

In today’s passage the Greek word used for overcome or conquer is a word usually used in reference to athletic contests.  To succeed in an athletic contest usually suggests victory over someone or something.  In terms of obeying God’s commands, this battle is most often between my flesh that pulls me one way and my relationship with jesus Christ that pulls me another way.In me, this battle often wages.

In looking at loving one another as a struggle that requires conquering, other examples of an athletic contest are involved.  You do not just show up on the day of the contest on your first day.  For many days before the contest you train and practice and test yourself.  You want to be prepared.  Living out our faith is analogous.  One cannot fight Satan’s temptations without the power of the Word of God.  One cannot join Jesus in overcoming the world without putting in the hard work all along the journey of faith.  But through faithful dedication we can conquer.  It is possible to love our fellow man as Jesus first loved us.

Scripture reference: 1 John 5: 1-6