Cross The Finish Line!

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. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” 1 Corinthians 9:24-27

We all are “playing a game”, it’s called LIFE and it’s not an easy board game.  It’s a race that is fast paced. It’s long, longer then a marathon and it takes much ambition to cross the finish line. As a Christian your life needs to be a life of discipline and one of strict training because if not, you could fail or even be disqualified from the race.  It’s amazing to me what athletes are willing to do in order to get the prize. The sacrifice people are willing to make to get a crown that will not last.  But we understand the daily sacrifice it takes to be spiritual athletes that will get the crown that will last forever!

Because you’re willing to enter into a strict training you get in shape. And when you are in shape the race can be one of joy and exuberance!

“For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come” 1 Timothy 4:8

Are you “in shape” spiritually?

How much training have you been doing?

Just like the athlete is willing to go to the gym everyday, we too get to enter the Spiritual Gym…The Lord’s Gym.  It’s called our “Quiet Time” in the morning. When you warm up with a time of prayer. When you curl the Epistles, Bench press the Pentateuch, squat the books of Poetry & Wisdom. When you lunge forward with the Gospels & Prophets, and condition with the books of History.  It’s getting to work out the whole body, not just one part of it! Question is, “are you using your membership?”

Maybe you were once in shape and yet now you find yourself “losing your breathe” during a practice warm up or even just after the 2nd lap around the track and so the race is no longer a joy, but a drag.

First you have to find out what area of your life needs to get back in shape. What part of your spiritual life has become flabby? Are you just doing the minimum? Doing just enough to say you have a membership but not really using it? In your evangelism, your follow up, giving contribution, or just your personal relationship with God?  Get a personal trainer to help point it out, someone to admonish you with the word and who has an example.  Trust the insight they give you. You might just learn a new technique to get rid of that unwanted weight.  Free yourself up.

But have you ever tried to keep running the race after you got hurt? I remember back in my High School days when I was the anchor on the 4×2 team in Track.  The 4×2 is a race where each member would run 200 yards before handing the baton to the next person. The anchor is the last runner of the relay who will then cross the finish line for the team.  I just got the baton and was closing the gap between us and the other team, as we were 50 yards behind. Within a few seconds I was neck to neck with the other team and we both had only 100 yards to go. I thought, “We are going to win… This is going to be a new PR” (Personal Record) When all of a sudden I felt a burning sensation in my hip. My sprint quickly became a jog and the other guy passed me. With the pain now un-bearable my jog turned into a few short steps before I fell to the ground without crossing the finish line.  I had an avulsion fracture on my hip. The muscle had pulled bone away from the rest of the hipbone. The next couple of weeks I couldn’t walk, no pressure was to be applied. The next following months were ones of physical therapy with intensive rehabilitating exercises.  This could be a spiritual painting of your Christian race. You started out good but now because of an injury, you could possibly not cross the finish line.

I believe some Christians are hurt spiritually and need to get healed by going into “Spiritual Therapy”.   Sometimes we are still trying to stand on our broken leg, when what we need is to come off of it so it can heal.  Spiritual Therapy is much like physical therapy, it’s a lot of hard work, and sometimes you won’t want to go.  It’s meeting with someone who is a mature Christian to confess all your sins James 5:16 “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” It’s a time to work through your past, understanding the situation and separating your feelings from truths of what happened.  It’s getting the faith to forgive, to move on truly in your heart and to allow your wounds to heal and become scares.  It’s taking specific direction and following it, getting advice about every area of your life.  It can even be a time of re-evaluating your foundation, your convictions and your priorities.  It might even be a change in your focus, for a time.  But as you take the direction, true healing can come, and then you can get back on the track to cross the finish line.

“Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” Romans 12:3

It takes humility to admit you’re hurt and you need to get healing.  But our pride can stop us from getting the help we need.  How do you know if you need some healing and should get into Spiritual Therapy?  Well, are you consistently talking about what you have done in the past but not about what you are currently doing? Is your marriage suffering? Are your finances hurting? Do you overlook critical parts of your life that are hurting and convince yourself, its no big deal? Are you critical of the other runners? Have you become more of a commentator in the stands then a teammate? You might need to humble out and get some time to heal up. If you don’t, it’s just going to get worse and could keep you from not just winning the race but even crossing the finish line!

However, let’s not use every “little injury” as an excuse to come off the track.  Yes, brothers and sisters will sin against you, and yes sometimes you won’t meet your goals or achieve something as quickly as you would like but that’s when you just got to push through the pain.  But keep an eye for the signs that would mean you need Spiritual Therapy.  Spiritual Therapy could be a couple days or even a few months. However if you don’t get the help you need, it could take years to heal, or worse, leave you disabled.  In any case you have to be willing to be humble, and see your need to visit a “spiritual doctor” and follow the advice given.

Let us all get strong spiritually and healed up, so when we’re on the track we can run as to win the prize and cross the finish line! To God be all the glory!

Love,

Coltin L Rohn