Topic: The Nature of the Christian Race [Open Heavens 17th May 2018, Thursday]
Memorise: Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. – Hebrews 12:2
Read: 2 Timothy 2:1-10 (KJV)
1 Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.
3 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
4 No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.
5 And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.
6 The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits.
7 Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.
8 Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel:
9 Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound.
10 Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.
Bible in One Year: 2 Samuel 10-11, 1 Peter 4:12-5:14
MESSAGE:
The Holy Spirit often uses the imagery of running a race or participating in a sporting activity to portray the Christian life. He does this to help us have a better understanding of the nature of the Christian life we are called to live, and to help us develop the right attitude required to be successful in it. In 1 Corinthians 9:24-25 He says:
24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. 25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.”
Three important points are in focus in this passage. First, there are many participants in a sporting event but only the winner receives the prize.
We are therefore encouraged to run the Christian race with a mind-set of striving hard to obtain the reward and not just for the mere purpose of participating, secondly, as athletes struggles to reduce unforced errors in order to achieve expertise in their chosen sports, we are also advised to strive for mastery.
Thirdly, just as professional athletes must be disciplined in all things before they can achieve the level of skill required to become champions, so also must we be calm, moderate, self-controlled and disciplined in all things.
Christianity is very much like boxing or running a marathon: if your attitude towards training and preparation is lackadaisical, relaxed and carefree, then you must be prepared for a painful defeat or even a knockout on the big stage. I pray that you will never suffer defeat in the hands of your enemies in Jesus’ Name.
God is using this medium to bring to your attention the precaution and diligence that is required to secure victory in the Christian race in these perilous times. He is urging you to give the race you are running all the attention needed to ensure success. He also presents before you the crown of glory which He will award to all those who are faithful to the end of the race (1 Peter 5:4).
This crown is not a perishable bunch of flowers or a gold-plated medal of little value, but the glorious crown of everlasting life, which awaits all those who have successfully completed the Christian race.
You will be wise by continually looking unto Jesus, who are the reward that was set before him endured the cross, despised the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Nothing can be more glorious than making it to heaven and beholding the face of Jesus forever. Will you make it there?
Prayer Point: Father, please help me to be successful in the Christian race in Jesus Name.
Hymn 5: I Have Decided To Follow Jesus
1. I have decided to follow Jesus;
I have decided to follow Jesus;
I have decided to follow Jesus;
No turning back, no turning back.
2. The world behind me, the cross before me;
The world behind me, the cross before me;
The world behind me, the cross before me;
No turning back, no turning back.
3. Though none go with me, I still will follow;
Though none go with me, I still will follow;
Though none go with me, I still will follow
No turning back, no turning back.
4. My cross I’ll carry, till I see Jesus;
My cross I’ll carry, till I see Jesus;
My cross I’ll carry, till I see Jesus;
No turning back, no turning back.
5. Will you decide now to follow Jesus?
Will you decide now to follow Jesus?
Will you decide now to follow Jesus?
No turning back, no turning back.
Open Heavens Daily Devotional guide was written by Pastor E.A. Adeboye, the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, one of the largest evangelical church in the world and also the President of Christ the Redeemer’s Ministries.