Running the Race

1 Corinthians 9:24, 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.

 

All men are born to die and we know it. We cannot stop it nor should we try. Some men know that they will die and enter heaven in eternity while recognizing that others will enter into an eternity of torment. Some men, unfortunately, believe that death is an entrance into nothingness, darkness, the end.

For all however, it is about how we lived, not how we die. The question then is, what are you living for? I prefer to live knowing that in the end, I died for something, with honor, and with integrity, a life worthy of God. That I ran the race (1 Cor 9:24) and that I finished ahead of where I started and where I was. One step closer to glory. I find it odd that as we all live such short lives, that too many treat the finality of death with outrageous contempt.


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What We Don’t Do Matters

James 4:17 (NASB), “Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.” 

 

Boy, do I have “a few” stories where I have not lived up to this. Thank God for His gracious mercy, I have needed it and I continue to need it.

What a believer “does not do” is commonly referred to as sins of omission. It is not only what people do that matters, the good that they fail to do is equally important to God.

Knowledge of God’s principles, His revelations, implies responsibility to act on them. The sin of omission of knowing God’s will and not doing it is presumptuous sin (should I or shouldn’t I?).

Knowledge of God’s Word without the application of it in our experiences will eventually distort our knowledge of it. It is possible to cauterize the soul by dabbling (i.e., sampling) in divine truth and revelation knowledge, and not benefitting from it because we do not practice it.

Galatians 6:9-10 “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.”

“Good” refers to what is intrinsically good — goodly, fair, beautiful, excellent, surpassing, suitable, honorable, praiseworthy. It can adapt to circumstances, purposes, and whatever it is that you are experiencing right now at this moment.

A Christian life is a marathon race. Doing good is not to be justified by good works, but living as God planned for those who have received his gracious salvation through faith.


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Doing “things” That Honor Jesus

Colossians 3:17 (NASB), Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.

 

This verse is one that should truly convict us – it has really convicted me, multiple times unfortunately. This morning, this verse brought tears to my eyes as I viewed it in respective of my own actions.

Excerpted, paraphrased, and adapted from Sparkling Gems II by Rick Renner.

The Holy Spirit lives inside of you if you have been born again, and your body is His temple here on earth. You should think once, twice, or more about everything you do.

Whatever you say, do, watch, or participate in, you involve Him because He lives inside you. If you can say and do such things, knowing those words and deeds will bless the Holy Spirit and honor the name of Jesus, then go ahead and say and do them, but if you are even a bit concerned that what you say or do will grieve the Spirit or bring dishonor to the name of Jesus, you should refrain from it.

In the KJV, the word “whatsoever” is used in lieu of “whatever”. This tells us that God is concerned about every action in our lives – not only the large ones, but even the smallest.

The word “do” infers any action that one does, which tells us that we must be careful about whatever we say and do, for every little action has an impact on our internal Resident, the Holy Spirit.

“Word” means that our words have an impact on the indwelling Holy Spirit and the manner in which we honor the Lord Jesus.

In Ephesians 4:29-30, we are commanded, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God…

“Corrupt” communication grieves the Holy Spirit. Corrupt describes anything that is rank, foul, putrid, rotten, corrupt, or worthless. This could include gossipy language or simply putrid talk. “Grieve” means that it deeply pains the Spirit when a believer talks in this fashion.

The word “deed” would include our treatment of others, how we handle our money, what we do with our time, what we look at on TV or on the Internet. “Deed” is all inclusive of everything.

The word “all” refers to everything – nothing is excluded.

If you will listen to the indwelling Holy Spirit, you will know when your actions or deeds grieve Him. When that occurs, simply back off, immediately repent, and resolve not to do it again.

IF ANYTHING YOU WANT TO DO DOESN’T GIVE HONOR TO THE NAME OF JESUS…. THEN DON’T DO IT! Its just that simple.


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Understanding a Culture of Faith

Phil 4:8 (NASB), Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. 

The CSB translation uses the words true, honorable, just [right], pure, lovely and commendable [good repute]. This particular verse is guiding us to fill our minds with things that will inspire worship of God and service to others.

What is true is found in God, in Christ, and in the Holy Spirit. Honorable means noble, “worthy of respect”, believers are advised to meditate on whatever is worthy of awe and adoration. The believer is to think in harmony with God’s divine standard of holiness. What is right [just] refers to giving people what they deserve. Pure is that which is morally clean and undefiled. Lovely means “pleasing” or “amiable”. Of good repute [commendable] refers to that which is praiseworthy and highly regarded or thought well of – some scholars say that this in reference to what is generally considered reputable in the world, such as kindness, courtesy, and respect for others.

Philippians 4, as a Chapter, is full of some of the most glorious promises and practical wisdom for a life that is “well pleasing to God”, applicable to every generation on every continent for all time.

Two very different thoughts for consideration on this passage:

1. Some believers find this passage to be difficult. They have backgrounds that cause them to struggle with focusing on what this part of scripture is telling us, along with the rewards. Issues with varying degrees of abuse, family conflict, or time spent meditating on Him and His Word with no tangible results, etcetera. Yes, this person is allowing the world to consume their attention, they are asking for help, but they do not get it. Christians that find this scripture absolute, simple, and basic may view the believer that struggles to focus on what is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely and commendable to be someone that says they know God but they do not know God; yet, the person going through the struggle is not advised, guided, or assisted in this struggle. Instead, they are viewed as not being in touch with the Holy Ghost and believers think “Oh well, I pray that they get it”. Because we are working to operate in love, some believers may toss subtle hints at them which cause their struggle to deepen until finally, one day, they give up. Love means giving accurate and direct guidance to those that struggle, lift them up, inspire and encourage them. Show them Philippians 4, do not just preach to them. This may require a tad more intimate coaching and mentoring.

2. Founding Father William Samuel Johnson, a signer of the Constitution commended school graduates in his day to this very Chapter to inspire them. “Rejoice in the Lord always…Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God…“. Imagine the bewilderment and possible outrage that would consume William Samuel Johnson if a judge or school official today told him that it was against the Constitution for him, a framer and signer of that very Constitution, to deliver this Bible address to school students? The fact that judges and officials would undoubtedly declare this speech to be unconstitutional is a poignant demonstration of just how far modern America has strayed from its original moral and religious foundations.

If we wish to stop the outflow from the Church, we must not forget what this particular verse is telling us: Truth, Honor, Just, Pure, Lovely, and Commendable. It is not just inside the church, it is to help our fellow man fully understand the culture of faith and, if a believer is getting it wrong, help them to understand. Some of God’s children walk through life with a very heavy heart, or, they are hard headed to a point where patience and time are necessary. Do not give up, do not view the struggling believer with contempt, keep moving forward, for the struggle is real my friends – at least for some.

 

Beardsley, Edward E. (1886), Life and Times of William Samuel Johnson, LL.D, Boston Houghton, Mifflin and Company, pp. 141-145


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Refuse To Give Up and Quit!

And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. – Gal 6:9

Refuse to give up and quit!!!

You must stay steady and on track with the assignment the Lord has given to you! Those moments when you’re tired and tempted to quit are the exact times when you need to grab hold of the power of God and determine that you are not going to stray from your course until you’ve finished what God asked you to do!

God commands you and me not to surrender to any temptation to give up. He promises that in “due season”, a harvest will be reaped if we don’t quit – the manifestation of what each of us is believing for will come if we will not cave in and give up.

Each seed has its own set season – a specific, individual time when the seed will produce its harvest. No matter what season our seed is to be reaped in, God promises that if we are consistent – if we steadfastly keep sowing our seed into the ground and refuse to let weariness take us down – a time will come when “we shall reap”.

The most common thing that causes one to loosen his grip is weariness. That’s why Paul urges you not to throw in the towel in times of spiritual, physical, or mental exhaustion. In order to reach that point of reaping, you must hold on tight to what God has told you and remember that your seed has a set season when it will produce if you don’t disrupt the process.

God promises you in Gal 6:9 that if you will remain steadfast, your time of waiting will eventually produce a harvest.


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Freedom and Liberty

Galatians 5:1. Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you.

There is deliverance from the law for the sinner who has been unsuccessfully trying to achieve his own righteousness, it is found in Jesus Christ and the salvation that He brings to the table.

Therefore, we need to stay where we are and stand firm on the truth, maintain your liberty; to be burdened by the law is the essence of religion and slavery. If you had been freed from the law, why would you go back?

Freedom is defined as independence, a license to do what one wants. But it can also be narrowly defined as having the “permission” to do something as you please. Permission is something granted by someone, which means that freedom can then be taken away by that someone. This is why we have liberty.

Liberty is described as something second only to life, a right granted by our Creator. It is part of you, it cannot be revoked. Liberty provides for the protection of rights.

Freedom is something granted; liberty is something we own that cannot be taken away. Freedom requires that you operate in a protective defense posture where you must always wear your “armor” (Ephesians); whereas Christ has liberated you from sin because of His salvation and grace – this is God’s offensive tactic, His gift to you, that can never be taken away from you. You have to voluntarily give away your liberty, why would you want to do that?


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