Running the Race – Part 2
Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. 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. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. (1Co 9:24-27)
Running the Race of the Christian life is the main thing we Christians do until we get to Heaven. In Paul’s day, the Olympics were going full-blast in that part of the world. He uses running to picture the Christian life. We must contend with the world, the flesh, and the devil; all three…not just one. He also talks about “The Warfare of the Believer” in Ephesians.
The World. We have trouble with the people of the world that defy God their maker, and His claim to be their rightful ruler. Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. (1Jn 2:15-16)
The Flesh. Paul appears to have more trouble with his own body than the world and the devil. His body must be kept under control. He does not have control of the world or the devil but he is in charge of controlling his own body that houses the old nature.
I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? (Rom 7:21-24)
The Devil. We have trouble with a real devil and his horde of demons. They are spirit beings, fallen angels. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (Jas 4:7)
We are running against these three things but the lust of flesh is the closest and most troubling. The lust of the flesh is most often related to illicit sex. But other things issuing out of the flesh are: killing, stealing, lying, and coveting another person’s things. Beyond the battle we fight with adultery, killing, and lying, is the warfare that takes place in the mind. With Eve, the forbidden fruit promised to “make one wise, was good for food and pleasant to the eyes” All these are avenues of temptation to the flesh, our old nature.
Yesterday we looked at the issue of sickness and whether healing is in the Atonement. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. (Isa 53:5) Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. (1Pe 2:24)
I pointed out that these verses are clearly about God’s remedy for the healing of sin. There are other verses about physical healing, the main verse being: And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him. (1Jn 5:14-15)
If it is God’s will to heal us and if we ask Him, He will heal us. If it is not God’s will that we be healed, then we will not be healed. THE LAST SICKNESS IS NEVER HEALED. It is not always God’s will to heal everyone any more than it is God’s will to answer every prayer that is prayed.
Why bring this up while focusing on Running the Race as a Christian? Because sickness and death are big obstacles on the racetrack where we are Running the Race. It is hard to feel spiritual, hard to feel victorious while we are sick or when someone close has died. We are going to be overwhelmed!
Sickness and death are the authors of depression and negative mood. I have watched at the bedside in hospitals and watched at funerals. I have studied myself when sick and when suffering the loss of family members and close friends. We have to run the race through those experiences. In Paul’s day, they wrestled with sickness, prison, persecution, and death. When they ran their race, it ran through those experiences. Bad times were part of the race.
In summary, how do we run the race when God does not answer our prayers for healing? How do we run the race when a child in the family has leukemia and is not healed? With small children, be careful when you pray for the sick puppy to be healed and you have to bury the puppy. A broken-hearted child needs wise counsel from someone who understands that God does not answer every prayer.
Running the race as pictured by Paul, must include these times of severe testing. It matters a lot about whether healing is in the Atonement. I have seen much damage done to people who were taught that God will always answer prayer, will always heal sickness. If this expectancy is there and it doesn’t happen, some people are going to be hurt really bad. Some will experience shipwreck of their faith. I have met many angry people who are mad at God for taking their child.
Let’s not try to put God in a corner. God is good all the time. All the time, God is good. The God of the mountain is still God in the valley. Farther along, we'll know all about it. Farther along we'll understand why. Cheer up my brother, live in the sunshine. We'll understand it all, by and by. He is the sovereign God who said: (and He meant what He said)
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isa 55:8-9) Ω
Read Through the Bible in a Year
MAY 25, 2017 – THURSDAY
A.M. 1Chron 14-16 P.M. John 9:24-41
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Memory Verse This Month:
And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. (Luke 24:44)
Song for Today:
The Old Rugged Cross (:48) (CMC – Sou.Pines,NC)
Please pray for: This little singer, June Ingram, who is in the hospital with cellulitis in the leg – with IV
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