“A manufacturer has a plan before there’s a finished product”.
GOD HAS A SET RACE FOR YOU TO RUN
“THEREFORE THEN, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who have borne testimony to the TRUTH], let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1 AMPLIFIED).
God says that each one of us has a set race for us to run. You don’t choose your race, the race and the lane you run in has already been chosen. If you don’t discover the right race to run in, you will get frustrated. Which do you prefer? To quote Shakespeare; “To be or not to be? That’s the question.” Everyone has an appointed course to run!
RUNNING WITH CERTAINTY
“Therefore I do not run uncertainly (without definite aim). I do not box like one beating the air and striking without an adversary” (1 Corinthians 9:26).
Nothing can give you confidence more than your course of certainty. Michael Phelps, the world champion swimmer, won the Gold Medal in every event he entered in the 2008 Olympics. He was asked on The Today show this morning after winning the 200m Butterfly in Singapore, “Are you going to train as hard for the 2012 Games as you did in 2008?” Michael responded, “After a few more races, I will know what my training program will be”.
I was just thinking about the 2012 Olympic Games in London next summer after hearing Michael Phelps comments. The preparation that is being made by the organizers and the athletes around the world. I vividly remember the last Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, China four years ago (2008). The marching into the stadium by the athletes, each one representing with pride, their home nation. Knowing who they were representing in the games, knowing how hard they’ve been in training to bring home a medal in their given event.
An Olympic sprinter from Jamaica, by the name of Usain Bolt broke the 100 meter world record in the 2008 Games, then on August 16th, 2009 he broke his own world record. Here is how ESPN Track and Field describe the record:
“Usain Bolt crossed the finish line, saw his record-setting time on the clock and spread his arms as if he were soaring like a bird. The Jamaican shattered the world record again, running 100 meters in 9.58 seconds. The American sprinter Tyson Gay, crossed the finished line in second place with a time of 9.71 seconds, an American record. Usain said he thought the time of 9.4 seconds could be reached soon. “
Their coaches and staff must have been jumping up and down over their athletes accomplishments. I am doing good enough if I could get myself out of my recliner in 9,58 seconds.
All of the training, exercise and preparations had been worth the incurred pain. The Olympic runners had faith in their coaches, in the training programs they had experience. Because of their intense training, their confidence had been reinforced; their faith was being expressed on the track, in their given lane or path, to finish the race.
BIBLICAL FAITH can be defined: “The practical expression of the confidence in God and in His Word”. The race that Christians run “isn’t a 100 meter dash but a long and sometimes grueling race, a marathon”.
GOD’S INSTRUCTIONS FOR RUNNING THE RACE
In Hebrews 12:1, the writer tells us when we are running life’s race, “let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight)…” What are those weights that are handicapping us? Are you about to drop out of the race; “give-up, cave in and quit”? How prepared are you run?
THE “GOLD MEDAL” WINNERS
In Hebrews 11, the Scripture lists “the men of old”, who by FAITH had “divine testimony borne them” (Hebrews 11:2). I like to call them our coaches; the “Gold Medal” champions. God is not going to ask you to do something without equipping you to do so! So then you might ask, “What is my path, my course that God wants me to take?”
“Nothing can give you confidence more than your course of certainty” quote by Dr. Creflo A. Dollar on 10/27/05. Romans 8:29-30 explains it this way: “For those whom He foreknew [of whom He was aware and loved beforehand], He also destined from the beginning to be molded into the image of His son [and share inwardly His likeness], that He might become the firstborn among many brethren.”
Our course to run in then, based on those two verses, is to be like JESUS! Our goal as believers, is to reach our purpose; making God’s vision a reality in our training. When God calls you, He will anoint you in His call and His might go along with His calling to ‘run the good race’.
“For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This VICTORY that has overcome the world, even our FAITH”
(1 John 5:4 NIV).
There has been many times in my Christian life I became frustrated in running the race; thinking I was answering God’s call.but being encumbered by the obstacles in front of me. Like the hurdles that are set in place for the runner to stride over them, like a bird or a gazelle, before crossing the finish line. My eyes were on the prize, “looking away [from all that would distract] to Jesus”. Who is the Leader and the Source of our FAITH…” (Hebrews 12:2). My disobedience kept clinging to me, my endurance and active persistence became so heavy, I wanted to quit! My strength was exhausted. And then, from the balcony on the other side of the stadium, coach Abraham encouraged and reminded me of his Gold Medal performance:
“[Urged on] by FAITH Abraham, when he was called, obeyed and went forth to a place which he was destined to receive as an inheritance; and he went…” (Hebrews 11:8).
Abraham was called by God, urged on by FAITH to ‘go forth’. Abraham “did not know or trouble his mind about where he was to go”. He was in the starting blocks, positioned to ‘go forth’, to run the race, and by FAITH knew that by expressing his confidence in God and in His Word, Abraham would win the prize; the Gold Medal!
PREPARING FOR THE RACE
Ladies, you must know that you have to be in preparation before you walk down the aisle if you are a bride. God is making us everyday to follow Him. When you get certain opportunities presented, be prepared to thank God first for the opportunity, then put your FAITH and TRUST in God’s plan for your life. Jesus gave His disciples an opportunity in Matthew 4:19, ““Come after Me [as disciples–letting Me be your Guide], follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men!”
Would you pay someone you didn’t hire? If you got a knock at your front door and a young man said to you, “I just finish mowing your front lawn. Please pay me”. You most likely would say, “I never told you to mow my lawn. I’m not going to pay you!” God didn’t hire you; He isn’t going to pay you either.
If you step out WITHOUT God supporting you or telling you, it will fail. “BUT God never said to me anything about that”. God already gave all of His instructions in His Word; the Bible. “When the blind leads the blind, they will both wind up in the ditch!” Have you ever felt you were in a ditch and had no idea how you got there?
“Who is he who speaks and it comes to pass, if the Lord has not authorized and commanded it?”
WE ARE ALL ATHLETES IN TRAINING
“Now every athlete who goes into training conducts himself temperately [level-headed, composed, collected— at the starting blocks] and restricts himself in all things. They do it to win a wreath that will soon wither, but we [do it to receive a crown of eternal blessedness] that cannot wither” (1 Corinthians 9:25).
Verse 26-27 continues, giving us steps or preparations in winning the good race:
“Therefore I do not run uncertainly (without definite aim)… BUT [like an Olympic boxer] I buffit my body [handle it roughly, discipline it by hardships] and subdue it, for fear that after proclaiming to others the Gospel and things pertaining to it, I myself should become unfit [not stand the test, unapproved and reject as a counterfeit].”
I have experienced many opportunities in my Christian life. I found out MY reasons weren’t the same as God’s reasons. SELF had become an encumbrance (an unnecessary weight). And now I know the plan God has laid before me. It has been there all the time in His Word. As a disciple of Christ, I am a “fisher” of men. God calling has anointed me as The WORD Detective to bring to the readers the Word, the Gospel and I now have confidence through FAITH IN my doing:
“Know that [God being a partner in Mel’s labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose [NOT Mel’s purpose]” (Rom. 8:28).