Running to Win!
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. 2 Timothy 4:7-8
S. D. Gordon wrote a book entitled Quiet Talks with World Winners. In it, he tells the story of a group of people who were preparing to ascend Mount Blanc in the Swiss Alps. The guides explained that because of the extreme difficulty of the climb, each person should take only necessary climbing equipment, leaving behind all personal accessories.
A young American ignored the advice and brought extra items, but on the way to the summit, he left them behind, one at a time. Finally, when he had reached the top, he had jettisoned everything except the essential equipment.
S. D. Gordon made this application to the Christian life: “Many of us, when we find we can’t make it to the top with our loads, let the top go, and pitch our tents in the plain, and settle down with our small plans and accessories. The plain seems to be quite full of tents”. The question we must all ask ourselves is, Are my personal accessories preventing me from fulfilling the mission God has given me?
The accessories S.D. Gordon is referring to is anything in our life that hinders us from reaching our potential for Christ. Pay close attention to what you’re believing, what you're doing and where you're going. Heavy, cumbersome accessories weigh down your heart, entangle your feet, distract your attention, and deplete your energy. They will empty you of your strength and distract you on your journey. You must identify what they are and resolve to do whatever it takes to lay them aside. Consider these three exercises as you run to win.
You should focus yourself purposely. Though all Christians share similarities in their earthly walk, the Lord places each of us on a unique path. Not everyone’s "accessories" are the same. Remember the admonition of Romans 14:23, “whatsoever that is not of faith is sin.” Things that may greatly hinder you may not bother your Christian friend. According to Romans 12:3, God has assigned to each of us the measure of faith we need for our respective life. So be careful comparing. You’re responsible for your race. Ephesians 5:17 urges us to “understand what the will of the Lord is”, be content, and focus hard on how to win it.
You should discipline yourself tirelessly. The athlete is trained by constant practice to discern how best to win in their run for excellence. Laying aside these hindering accessories isn’t a one-time thing. It’s a skill acquired through constant practice. Don’t be discouraged that you haven’t reached your goal yet. It is a marathon and not a hundred yard dash. Don’t give up. Keep at it. Do it again. And again. And again. By perseverance even the snail reached the ark.
You should seek godly counsel courageously. Even the most skilled athletes need instruction. Those instructions are very seldom easy to follow. However, we aren’t always the best judge at identifying our own faults and hindrances. Thankfully, God will provide you with coaches if you ask (they’re already there in your church).
There comes a point when you realize that you’re not going to win the race you’re in if you don’t drop the weights. Be purposeful in your focus, disciplined in your training, and tireless in seeking godly counsel. Remember in order to reach the summit you have to lose the accessories.
Enjoy your climb, the view at the top will amaze you!
"…let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us,
and let us run with patience the race that is set before us" Hebrews 12:1
A Prayer for a Courageous Walk
Lord Jesus, Son of God, How rich is your mercy toward me! How amazing your grace!
In times when I turn my back on You, You relentlessly reach out to me.
So much love, Lord Jesus. It is hard to take it all in.
You loved me unconditionally when You broke the bread and offered the cup of forgiveness.
Thank You, Jesus, Son of God.
Give me the courage to follow You - selflessly, unconditionally.
Always emptying myself of those things that hinder my climb… Amen