Sunday, March 23, 2014

Get Back in the Race

I'm a walker.  During the good weather months, I walk outside and I much prefer to do that, but during the months from November-March, I usually join a local gym that has an indoor track and do my walking there.  It's just too cold and slippery outside.

I usually walk Mon-Wed-Fri first thing in the morning.  Back in January, I started working again; a part-time job Mondays and Wednesdays and I don't have time to go to the gym in the early morning, so I tried to do it after work.  I truly had good intentions and for the most part was able to continue until mid-February when a really bad cold sidelined me.  I missed one week, then two and then it seemed easier to come up with an excuse not to go  - I was too tired, still fighting the cold, etc.

Last week I had every intention in the world of starting out again; even made it on Monday afternoon, but come Wednesday, another convenient excuse.  When I didn't make it there on Friday either, I decided it was time to have a good talk with myself!

Anyway, I went back this past Monday, made myself go on Wednesday and was able to make it there again on Friday.  As I was walking the track on Friday, there were several people who were flying by me running and I thought - it's really good to be back in the race!

Then, as usual for me, my thoughts started wandering and I found myself thinking -
life is sometimes like that. 
We experience disappointment, we get tired, we get overwhelmed with responsibility -
and we drop out of the race. 
We disappoint ourselves, we fall to some besetting sin and feel like we've disappointed God -
and we drop out of the race. 
We stop trying, we give up - and we drop out of the race.
Sometimes we feel that we have prayed and prayed and prayed and then prayed some more and our prayers go seemingly unanswered - and we drop out of the race.
We can find every excuse known to man to keep ourselves on the sidelines - and out of the race.

Sometimes we need a personal cheerleader to help us get back in the race.
Other times, we just need to do what David did - He encouraged himself in the Lord.
"And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters; but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God,"
I Samuel 30:6

However it happens - we need to get back in the race!
Now I'm not talking about the "Rat Race" here.

I'm talking about the race of faith.
Paul said -

"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."
Hebrews 12:1

"Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize?  So run, that ye may obtain.  I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:  But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: let that by any means, which I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway."  
1 Corinthains 9:24, 26-27
Scripture also tells us -
"And let us not be weary in well-doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not."
Galatians 6:9

Scripture even explains the purpose of trials -

"Wherein you greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, you are in heaviness through manifold temptations: that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:"
1 Peter 1:6, 7
Good News!
We do have a personal cheerleader - the Holy Spirit!
He will lead us, guide us, teach us and be with us!
He will re-energize us and remind us of all truth!

"But the Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I (Jesus) have said unto you."
John 14:26
The Holy Spirit encourages us through the words of Paul again -

"Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and has professed a good profession before many witnesses."
1 Timothy 6:12
And again -
"Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)" Hebrews 10:23
So that we may say, along with Paul -

"I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith." 
2 Timothy 4:7
If you've been sidelined, today, get back in the race. 
Fight the good fight! 
Contend for the faith!
"Beloved, when I gave all dilligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints."
Jude 3 
The word "contend" in the above scripture means to strive or struggle for.  Our faith is worth "struggling for" and it is, indeed, a struggle.  The enemy of our souls would like nothing more than to permanently knock us out of the race.  Don't let him do that!
The Holy Spirit and I both encourage you today!
Get back in the race!
Run to the best of your ability!
Remember, it's not a competition and the Lord alone sets your pace.
Fight for the ground He wants to give you!

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