TODAY'S WORD FOR Monday, August 17, 2020:
Move swiftly or fast; make haste; rush; flee; race.
Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.
I Corinthians 9:24.
KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE:
The Greeks enjoyed two great annual athletic events. They were the Olympic Games and the Isthmian games. The Isthmian games were held in Corinth, so the believers in the church at Corinth were quite familiar with this analogy of running to win that Paul spoke to them about in the verse above.
In athletic competitions, there are short races and there are long races. To be a winner requires dedication and discipline. Winning both short and long races requires hours of diligent training and preparation. It requires sacrifice. The runner must be willing to give up things he or she would rather do, in order to prepare him or her to be a winner. It requires hard work to strengthen the body and to build up stamina. A short jog a day will not prepare a runner to be a winner.
Life is a race that we all must run and, as Paul says, we must all run with the goal of winning. This is what God expects of us. As we run, life is full of triumphs and reversals and as Christians we are not excluded from disappointments. We are to be faithful and run to honor our King who is Jesus.
The race we run as believers is not a short race. It is a marathon! We cannot hope to run this marathon successfully without preparation. To win the prize requires self-denial, dedication and discipline. It is essential that the believer prepare for the race by studying God’s Word, by prayer, by meditation and by worship. We must learn to deny ourselves of doing what we desire so that we can do what God wants.
An occasional glimpse at the Bible and a quick prayer once in a while and going to church when we feel like going will not be sufficient to win. Believers must prepare themselves to win the race that God has set before them.
If we falter or give into sin because of the difficulties we face in life, we risk losing a rich reward at the end of our race in life. That is why we need to be prepared so that when we run into difficulties in life, we know how to face them and win.
The goal of our race here on earth is to become more like Christ. At the end of our race we do not win a medal but we want to hear the Master say, “WELL DONE.”
Paul says that in a race all of the runners run, but only one receives the prize therefore we should run in such a way that we may win it. If we do not run, we cannot win. If we do not run with the goal of winning, all of our time, effort, and sacrifice put into training is wasted.
In II Timothy 4:8, Paul tells us what the prize is. “Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord the righteous judge, will award to me on that day.”
Only when the struggles and trials of life is over will we receive our crown of righteousness when we have entered into God’s kingdom. Our eternal home.
Our memory verse for this week is found in James 5:16.
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed and restored. The heartfelt prayer of a righteous man is able to accomplish much.
Help me to run the race in life so that I may obtain from You the words, “Well done.” Give me the stamina and the endurance to live my life exalting You even when the running gets tough. Keep my eyes focused on my goal to become more Christ-like.
These Family Devotional thoughts are written by Dr. Ken Phillips, Executive Director of America's Hunger
Solution, and his wife Dottie. Ken has had ministry positions
with The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, World Vision, Youth For Christ, World Opportunities International,
and World Bible Society. He also has consulted for more than 30 Christian ministries in management and stewardship
development. They have published a book called No Problems Only Situations that discusses the journey of their family.
Ken and Dottie have been married for 60 years, and have 6 children, 20 grandchildren, and 3 great grandchildren. Their
second book, TODAY'S WORD, includes 365 daily
devotionals and is now available for only $10.
Ken & Dottie Phillips
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