Hillcrest Chapel has been calling those who attend here to enter "The Race."
Where does the Race come from in Scripture? How did it get started? Paul gave Timothy a number of specific meditations and reflections upon which he wanted his young disciple to reflect. As part of that meditation, Paul encouraged Timothy to reflect on the competitive nature of an athlete, and concluded the list of potential reflections with this promise from 2 Tim. 2:7—"Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this." I have certainly found this to be true.
I don't know how many of you are like me; but usually after the holidays, I determine it's time for me to get in shape again, lose some weight and pick up in other areas of my life where I've been slacking off (e.g., Scripture reading, prayer, time alone with God, etc.).
But you know what? There is a side of me that doesn't want to do any of it! I don't want to muster up the discipline or take the time to do what needs to be done physically and spiritually in my life. Anyone relate? You're sick of making one more New Year's resolution; you're tired of going on a diet; you're not sure you have the energy or the desire to get in shape—spiritually or physically—again.
With the challenge of our last session on how to win the race in mind, I want us to look at what is necessary to keep us in the race, so we won't be disqualified or run with less than our potential. In 2 Timothy 2:3-6, Paul gave Timothy a number of specific meditations and reflections to reflect on:
- the hardships of a good soldier of Christ Jesus, and how focused the soldier's service should be
- the hardworking farmer, and what share of the crops he received
- the competitive nature of an athlete
The key concern in this session is that we learn what it means to run the race marked out for us at the Lord's pace. How do we stay in step with God's Spirit? As we look at life's race, there are four possibilities concerning its pace.
- Some will run the race too fast—2 John 1:9.
- Some will run the race too slow—Heb. 5:11-6:15.
- Some won't run at all, or only crawl, because they don't think they have the capacity to run.
- Some will run the race at God's pace, i.e., keep in step with the Spirit (grow and mature in the Christian life at a consistent pace).