Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Run Your Race with Raisins

My husband gave the talk at church yesterday and I was so proud of him. He talked about how our lives following Christ are like a race. This race isn't a short one. It's a long run, a marathon, an 100 miler. You have to be prepared for the long haul. When you set out on this run, you can't sprint. You won't make it. You need to have endurance, to be able to meet the challenges along the path and get over them. And it always helps to have a buddy running alongside. 

The apostle Paul uses this analogy several times in scripture. 

And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3

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. 1 Corinthians 9:24-25

But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,  I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14

Do you see? Athletes are a great analogy for believers because serious athletes show us what is like to be totally committed. Their entire lives are driven by getting the prize and being the best at their sport. Paul reminds us that with this same passion we need to pursue God. 

And now you may be wondering, what the heck do raisins have to do with all this? Well maybe nothing. But when I do long-distance runs, I always take a little baggie of raisins with me and a small water bottle that slips over my thumb. This keeps me energized and hydrated so that I can continue. Anyhow, the point is that just like a long distance run, our life following Christ needs something to keep you going. Daniel used the example of the ten virgins, five of whom were able to keep their lamps lit because they brought enough oil, and five of whom were not prepared.

my water bottle and raisins!
So what are your raisins? The obvious one is reading God's word daily. We need to listen to what God has to say! Other raisins can be going to church and our weekly Bible study. These will help us to stay encouraged (and encourage others). Then, of course, there is prayer. And don't forget that other raisins can be things like having close friends who are believers or spending time meditating on your faith.

Pick up  your Bible, fill your baggie with raisins, and run the good race! Happy Tuesday!

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