Successful Olympic athletes work out an average of four hours a day, 310 days a year, for six years. They have to be disciplined, because they’re contending for the gold.
Of course, the trend today, especially among younger people, is to say that we don’t really have winners or losers. You get a participation trophy just for showing up.
However, that isn’t real life. We need to understand that in the race of life, there are winners and losers. And God wants you to win in the race you’re running right now.
The New Testament book of Hebrews tells us, “Since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us” (Hebrews 12:1 NLT).
I’ve met runners who actually enjoy running and say things like, “That was a great run.”
I’ve never had a great run. I’m always looking forward to when it ends, and I don’t think I’ve ever met an endorphin. But there is such a thing as a runner’s high.
In the same way, if you’re running this race of life for the Lord, there is joy in it. Yet in this race we’ll also encounter obstacles to our happiness, things that can stop us from making progress.
For example, when we complain and bicker, it slows us down in the race of life. The apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in Philippi, “Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world” (Philippians 2:14–15 NKJV).
In other words, don’t be a complainer. Or, as the King James Version puts it, “Do all things without murmurings and disputings.”
Murmuring isn’t complaining out loud; it’s more like muttering. Remember the cartoon character Popeye? He was always muttering, but you could never understand what he was saying.
This Bible is saying don’t do that, because no one likes to be around a complainer. No one likes to be around a whiner.
I came across a headline a few months ago that read, “The Coronavirus Has Made Me a Rage Monster. Help!” I get that. We’re stressed because the rules for dealing with the coronavirus are always changing. So we get frustrated.
But instead of letting these things stress us out, let’s stop and look at the opportunities that are before us. More than any other time I can remember, we’re at a moment in American history when people are more open to the gospel because they’re scared. They don’t know what the future holds.
I also think that even people who don’t necessarily believe that we’re living in the end times may think these are the end times. Are we living in the last days? Is Jesus coming? Are the things happening around us fulfilling Bible prophecies?
I think the short answer is yes.
People are alarmed and concerned right now. So this is a moment for us to engage them with the gospel.
Paul went on to say, “Become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world” (verse 15 NKJV).
To be blameless means that you’re not a hypocrite. It means that you practice what you preach. Blamelessness speaks of moral integrity that shows itself outwardly.
I think it kind of drives nonbelievers a little crazy when Christians back up what they say with the way they live. A lot of people want Christians to mess up so they can say, “You see? They’re hypocrites. They don’t really believe that. They don’t practice what they preach.”
Daniel was an example of personal integrity. The Bible tells us that his enemies wanted to bring him down, but he didn’t have any skeletons in his closet: “Then the other administrators and high officers began searching for some fault in the way Daniel was handling government affairs, but they couldn’t find anything to criticize or condemn. He was faithful, always responsible, and completely trustworthy” (Daniel 6:4 NLT).
The apostle Paul also said, “As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God. The time of my death is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return” (2 Timothy 4:6–8 NLT).
So how are you doing in the race of life? Are you winning or losing? Are you gaining ground, or are you losing ground?
This is a golden moment for us as Christians to model our faith during this COVID-19 crisis, because we’re the only Bible that some people will ever read. People who don’t know the Lord are watching us. So let’s be blameless as we follow Jesus Christ.
Learn more about Pastor Greg Laurie.
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This article was originally published at WND.com
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