The Christian Race
Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. 1 Corinthians 9:24, 25.
Here Paul makes a sharp contrast, to put to shame the feeble efforts of professed Christians who plead for their selfish indulgences, and refuse to place themselves by self-denial and strictly temperate habits in a position that they will make a success of overcoming. All who entered the list in the public games were animated and excited by the hope of a prize if they were successful. In like manner a prize is held out before the Christian, the reward of faithfulness to the end of the race. . . . All ran in the race, but only one received the prize. The other strugglers for the perishable laurel wreath, however thorough their preparation, however earnest and determined their efforts, were doomed to failure. It is not so with the Christian race. . . . The weakest saint as well as the strongest may obtain the crown of immortal glory if he is thoroughly in earnest and will submit to privation and loss for Christ’s sake. . . .
If we create unnatural appetites and indulge them in any degree we violate nature’s laws, and enfeebled physical, mental, and mortal conditions will result. We are hence unfitted for that persevering, energetic, and hopeful effort which we might have made had we been true to nature’s laws. If we injure a single organ of the body we rob God of the service we might render to Him.
The apostle calls our attention to the care and diligence which were required to secure the victory in these ancient games. He exhorts all who start in the Christian race to give all diligence to make success certain, while he presents before them for their encouragement the crown of glory which the righteous Judge will award to all who are faithful to the end of the race. . . . This crown is not a perishable chaplet of flowers, but the glorious crown of everlasting life, which awaits all who, having completed the Christian race, love the appearing of our Lord.
That I May Know Him p. 315
—– Please pray for my family as we travel to Arkansas for my Mothers funeral on Thursday. The weather is forecast for rain/ice/snow. Linda
——Please pray for us as R has a job interview in another state. LC
When I was in my middle teens, my mother and I often drove down to Indiana with some of her friends to a tourist attraction called Buck Lake Ranch which was set up like a “wild west” town. Every weekend in the summer, various country music singers would perform there. It was nice to get away from the city and it was a pretty place with plenty of trees and a small lake, but after a few hours, I would get rather bored.
There was a museum (of sorts) there that had many “wonders.” I called them wonders because it was a wonder that people would believe that anything in it was real. I wandered from one exhibit to another, chuckling to myself because it was all so fake. (I’m sure that they have improved it nowadays.) The exhibit that made me say “you’ve got to be kidding” was a “petrified man” made out of cement. Whoever made it, did a very poor job. There was little shape to head, body or limbs, the arms had no elbows and the legs had no knees. One time as I was standing there looking at this fake “man” to my surprise, the people behind me seemed to believe that it was real. I was shocked and amazed that they could be fooled like that.
How easy it is to be as misled just as the people behind me were. Daily our “adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” 1 Peter 5:8 On every hand, the evil one attempts to lure us into his deathtrap. Carefully, he chooses an allurement suited to our own particular weaknesses. For some it is TV programs that lead the mind away from spiritual matters, for others it is sports, still others are led away by worldly music, some by relationships with those who would lead them into sin. Jesus tells us, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. ” Matt 7:13-16
Sometimes, even in the church the evil one has “tares” among the “wheat” to lead our mind into false theories. (Matt 13:24-30) We are warned that “many deceivers are entered into the world.” 2 John 7 These deceivers may appear righteous, but they are as Jesus declared of the Pharisees, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.” Matt 23:27,28 These tares may truly think they are wheat, but they are not. Jesus warns, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” vs 21-23
Paul tells us, “Evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” 2 Tim 3:13-17 Here is the key. Our Great Creator has given us His Holy Word, that we might not be deceived. For every truth, the devil has made a counterfeit.to deceive us. Only through studying without preconceived ideas God’s Holy Word, comparing what each of the Bible writers have to say on a certain subject, can we keep from being deceived. (1 Cor 2:13; Isa 28:10) Jesus prayed, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” John 17:17 Through a study of the Scriptures, “we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Cor 3:18 Wonderful Saviour! He has provided a lamp unto our feet, and a light unto our path, that we need not be deceived by snares of the enemy. Ps 119:105 We need not be deceived!
Let us proclaim as did David, “Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.” Ps 119:160 Let us hide its word in our heart that we might not sin against our Great Redeemer. (vs 9-11) Let us “study to show [ourselves] approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Tim 2:15