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With the Lord’s permission, as my tip of the hat to Labor Day this year, I am giving the faithful readers of this Blog a break with me from some of what I know has been some heavy reading this summer. Receive this brief, edited 2011 repost as a word of encouragement with my deep gratitude for taking time to read this Blog in whatever regularity you do. Have a great Labor Day!
Originally Posted September 4, 2011
The road to compromise is paved with small steps away from God’s Word. I have been there and done that! This is why I have personally sought to be faithful to God and His Word in even the small things as the Holy Spirit has given me help. In The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics I write about how important it is for us to faithfully practice the spiritual disciplines of the faith with the same intensity and commitment of an athlete.1 If I stand in the small things, I will stand in the big ones. If I take small steps away from God’s Word in compromise, I will eventually take a big one. This is an appropriate application of the teaching of our Lord Jesus found in Luke 16:10. Stay faithful!
1 The book is available at all major internet booksellers, by order at your favorite brick and mortar bookstore or in the Strong Man Store.
It is four years later and I am now watching the Summer Olympic Games in Rio. To the praise of my Lord Jesus, the important truths He led me to share in the following edited 2012 blog during the London Games still apply. Truly, the motivation, discipline and actions of athletes in the Olympics and all sports competition well serve as excellent analogy for the Christian race and will do so until there is no such thing as athletic competition! How appropriate this repost is as a final, short wrap up word of encouragement to the faithful in all the Lord caused me to write about and who wait for immortal glory as God’s consummation to the great salvation He has worked for us in Christ Jesus.
Originally Posted September 2, 2012
Watching the London Summer Olympic Games, I was struck by the diligence the athletes showed first in training for four years and then in the exertion of competing in their areas of specialty. These men and women do all of this for medals that will fade. The same sort of thing now plays out on football fields on every level around our nation this fall as teams work together to win the prize of trophies, rings and bragging rights in a championship season. As Christians, we are taught in Scripture that we are running in a race that we too are to run to win (1 Corinthians 9:24).
As the Lord leads me to teach in The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics, such a race requires the disciplined mind set of an athlete (1 Corinthians 9:25-27). It also must be run in accord with the rules (God’s, not man’s) lest we be disqualified in shame (2 Timothy 2:5). Finally, surrounded by a very great “cloud of witnesses” that has finished their own, our race is to be run with endurance since it is a marathon, not a sprint (Hebrews 12:1, NKJV). Truly, for this race is not about speed, but only faithfully finishing the race marked out for us. As we run, we look up ahead to our Lord Jesus the pacesetter who displayed the perfect motivation, discipline and faith as the key strategic action in His race; crossing the finish line to victory and immortal glory (Hebrews 12:2)!
Like the apostle Paul who saw the end of his race drawing near, we are only concerned to finish well knowing our works wrought in Christ will follow us and the prize of unfading crowns with immortal glory await (2 Timothy 4:6-8). Indeed, in the race of eternal life, physical death is not a disqualifying obstacle, but the finish line unless Christ returns first! And so, we run; experiencing all of the many kinds of challenges, hardships, afflictions, trials, setbacks, tears and longsuffering others endure to win only the temporary prizes of mortality. Many of them overcome by their challenges, hardships, afflictions, trials and setbacks and lacking endurance, drop out of the race.
However, we press on running our race looking for the Lord’s “well done” and after all adversity caused suffering endured in faith, perseverance and His strength, “the upward call of God in Christ Jesus;” the salvation and immortal glory even admiring holy angels desire to know more about (Matthew 25:21; Romans 8:18; Philippians 3:8-14, 4:13; 1 Peter 1:3-12, NKJV)! Therefore, let every aspiring strong man and great woman of God in the image of Christ our Lord run your race to win and collect the eternal prize to the glory of our God (Revelation 19:5-9).
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