Monday, December 1, 2008

Running the Race

I just started this awesome Bible study by Debbie Taylor Williams called

If God is in Control, Why do I have a Headache?

I've been studying Esther and it has been just incredible. This morning I had to read these verses that Paul penned I imagine with tears splashing down his cheeks...

1 Corinthians 9:24-27

24Do 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.

25 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.

26Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air.

27No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

Although this is a passage I've read many times in my life, I read them completely different through this Bible study this morning.
I love watching other people run. Especially the ones that make it look so easy.
I am not one of those people; after 2 minutes on a treadmill, my life flashes before me.
Recently we watched many athletes compete against each other in the Olympics.
They all came from different locations, but all had the same like-minded goal of ending their competition in1st place. Only one person would accomplish becoming a gold medal winner of each race, but each athlete ran with much effort and determination to get that medal.
In verse 24 Paul tells us to do the same thing. only one gets the prize...Run in such a way as to get the prize.

I know so often I just go through life and yet we are instructed to run.
Run as if we are are going to receive that gold medal at the end of our day.

The athletes that earn their way to the Olympics train themselves for days, months and years for that one race. When multi-gold medal winner, swimmer Michael Phelps was getting ready to race the commentators shared his daily training routine. Made me so tired and I was just sitting on the couch watching. His winnings demonstrate the discipline of his training. He is focused. When they showed him on TV, he had earphones on and had a set look of concentration on his face. He wasn't waving to his mom in the bleachers or texting on his cell phone. At the end of the race his
strict training paid off.

In verse 25 Paul again tells us to do the same thing. We need to be focused, we need to go into strict training. So what does strict training look like for a believer?

Determined time alone with God.
Just you and Him.
Reading His Word...memorizing His Word.
Staying focused on Christ takes devotion, dedication and determination.

Then instead of a gold medal put around our neck that will not last, instead we will receive a crown from God that is eternal.

Please take a quick second and watch the beginning of this clip of Phoebe from Friends running in Central Park. If you never watched that show, don't worry there is nothing bad. After the running scene you can click out of it if you wish. The whole thing only lasts a minute.

Paul said: I do not run like a man running aimlessly.
When I choose to sleep in and skip my alone time with God I look just like Phoebe did as I try to survive my day.
Spending time in God's Word is a must and keeps me focused so that I don't find myself running aimlessly on the wide path of life looking like a complete fool.

Verse 27 is what shook me up the most out of all these verses though.
Paul tells us how he beats his body into submission.
His flesh is forced to bow down to Christ.
OH, I love that!!!

I've shared before about an affair I had years ago.
When things get tough between Gene and I, the first thing the enemy tries to do is bring that up and I'll be honest some days it doesn't look half bad.
Some days the temptation is strong sisters!
BUT I have to beat the flesh sinful woman in me to bow down before Christ and not run through life being out of control.
I have to.
I can't write about Christ here on this blog and then go lay down with a man that is not my husband.
I know if I do I will be disqualified from the race and I don't want that.

Recently Olympian winner Marion Jones admitted to lying about using steroids while running and was sentenced to 6 months in prison. This was said about her at her trial:

"The guilty plea in this matter and the circumstances surrounding it have been a very painful and life-changing experience for Marion Jones-Thompson," said the memorandum.
"She has been cast from American hero to national disgrace. This part of her story will forever be one of personal tragedy. To be clear, the public scorn, from a nation that once adored her, and her fall from grace have been severe punishments. She has suffered enormous personal shame, anguish and embarrassment. She has been stripped of her gold medals, her accomplishments, her wealth and her public standing."

When it comes down to the end of my life, I don't want this kind of thing said about me because I chose to make poor daily choices.

Instead I want to hear these words come from my Savior's lips as I am held in His embrace:

"Well done, good and faithful servant".

Your life matters so much.
God has such greatness planned for each of us.
Live each day as the track star of Jesus that you are.
Get into strict training.
Cross the finish line of each day with much grace and with a bowed head.

And when that fleshly sinful woman in you wants to rise up and run the race for you, remind her that Jesus Christ is now your track coach and she needs to step back and bow down before Him.

Don't be like Phoebe from that video and run aimlessly, instead be like Paul and run focused.

~Many Blessings~


Tammy said...

I believe we were seperated a birth,of course that would make me your much older sister. :) Our thoughts are so alike!

Finishing this race that God has put me on is so important,yet at times there this sinful woman who is always trying to sneak in front of me. But I'm keeping any eye on her.

One thing I learned from my mom was you have to keep your eyes on Jesus.You said it "run focused."


Paula said...

Thank you Lelia for such a timely post! God sent a little brown frog into my lounge room (via the garage/laundry next door) to get me started on becoming focussed again. You put it so simply when you list - time alone with God, prayer, reading His Word and staying focussed. So easy to do, yet so easy to avoid. I love how you say, "I have to be focused or the mess that I am without God tries to direct me and I run aimlessly on the path of life looking like a complete fool." I am feeling a bit foolish at present due to not staying focussed. Thank you again my dear friend, Paula :-) xo

Pamela (MrsJoeB) said...

That daily time with God has become my life line. It is the only way to start the day and to run the race. I am trying to focus more on building my prayer life-concentrated prayer time.
Your a blessing!

In His Graces~Pamela

LynnSC said...

Great Post Lelia,
I cannot even go up and down the stairs in our house without being winded. I nned to go into strict training.

I agree with you about the alone time with God. It is a must... or I am a mess. Although... the enemy can still get me if I spend my time with God and then lose my focus afterwards. Staying Focused. So important. I am at work... so I cannot watch the video. I will have to watch it when I get home. I can only imagine what she looks like running.

Thank so much about the reminder to stay focused... as to win the race.

Anonymous said...

I've been in conflict for years regarding my pure desire to be ever-mindful of my relationship with Christ on a daily basis, yet struggling to be naturally "Christ-like" in my daily dealings... But, I'm running the race with gusto, and ever grateful for blogs like yours where I find encouragement like this post.

Shabby Olde Potting Shed said...

Hi Lelia...
I really think the enemy sees when we aren't totally focused and uses any and every little thing trying to reroute our Godvision.
I liked what you wrote about the temptation to hit snooze instead of purposefully reading His word from the very start of the day. With EYES and hearts in the WORD, our focus will remain.
Running to win,

AnooCre8ion said...

Lelia, what an amazing post. I am determined like you to run this race and I am not backing down.

Bless you

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Running with you, friend, even when it's hard and my flesh cries out for the snooze button!


Runner Mom said...

Oohh...I LOVED this one, girlfriend!

I look at this scripture from two sides--as the physical runner and the spiritual one. My training-physically-needs to be more strenuous--I know what my body is capable of, yet I don't always push the way that I should. That's one of the reasons that I post my training log on my blog--to keep myself accountable. The spiritual training is where I really let God down. I struggle to get out of bed and spend that needed time with Him before I begin my day. This morning, it took 30 minutes of "snooze" time before my feet hit the ground. Then, I only had 30 minutes with Him--which is simply not enough! I will finish my quiet time this morning!I need to be just as focused as a spiritual runner as I am the physical one. Why isn't it that easy? Temptation!!


Thanks for this wonderful encouragement and wake-up call.
Love you!

Jill said...

Lelia, Thank you for your words today, I seem to be in a bit of a slump and you reminded me of what I need to do. Now I just need to do it! Thanks, Jill

Ang baylis said...

Good Morning!
I have been out of town and was reading the LPM blog and was reading the comments and saw yours. (The Thanksgiving one.) I was reading all of them and don't know if you know that Beth commented back to you on there. You may want to check it out if you haven't already. It was sweet and personal to you! I could relate way too much! :)
Have a good day... now I'll read your post!
Angie xoxo

Ang baylis said...

Oh, Lelia... this was SUCH a good post! I watched the video a couple of times and it was hilarious. I, too love to watch how others run. I must admit, I probably walk or maybe jog through life... but run? Hmmmm. It was NO accident that God brought me over to your blog this morning. I need some true and tried coaching today! I need some focus. Thank you for being so honest about your past. It blessed me this morning! I am also a fleshy sinful woman who gets in the habit of trying to take over. I need to surrender again! I am too much like Phoebe! Thanks again...
Angie xoxo

Mel said...

This is a great post and I so struggle with this area of the "training"...

Paula (SweetPea) said...

Can you believe it Lelia, I am left speechless. I think I'm just allowing your words, thoughts, and honesty to soak into me.

Love ya, sweet, sweet friend!!!!!
Paula ♥
Now I better go see what Beth said to YOU!!!

Yolanda said...

This goes right in line with the bible study I am currently leading in our community. This whole week we have been learning about "Crossroads", and that when we come to that intersection we have a choice to make, the narrow road....leading to life....or the broad road....leading to death. It's our choice, what will it be?

Love YOU!

Susan said...

Oh yes, another AWESOME post/teaching!

What a gift God has given you, and how faithful you are to use your talents.

They just keep multiplying!

I'm in the race to win!

It's a blessings to have sisters like you to run with♥

Rhonda said...

I've entered you in my giveaway. And thanks for letting me know about these other great ones!! Gotta love all of our great 'blogging sisters'!!

Bless you Lelia!!


william said...

Good morning Lelia!! May this christmas will bring you joyful and marvelous happenings.. I will pray for you..

valerie said...

I have to say that episode of "Friends" is one of
my favorites. Some people say I remind them
of Phoebe. ;)

This is a great post about running the race set before us.

I may not comment that often, but I think of you often, keep you and your family in my prayers, and will always remember you were the first one to encourage me to keep blogging!

Love ya,

Rachel Olsen said...

Love your blog, Lelia!!
And thanks for all your visits to mine.

Just wanted to say I'm thankful for you.

Blessings ~ Rachel

Ang baylis said...

Hi, Lelia...
I'm back again. I watched this so many times and decided to borrow it for my blog. It cracked me up!!!! I hope you don't mind...
Angie xoxo

Carol said...

Hi Lelia,

Wow true that is. Since my schedule has changed and I'm alone in the mornings I am able to read God's word, and other encouragments. Those days I always have more peace. If I'm not at home, I try to read something at work, but it's not the same as just sitting with God alone.

What a great post, and love the Friends video, drove the point home.