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Well they did it!  No I'm not talking politics or anything like that.  Last Tuesday, the Dodgers defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 to win the World Series and were crowned the champions of major league baseball.  It wasn't easy as they had to scratch and claw every game to win the title.  The team and the fans were elated because it was their first championship in 32 years.  That's right.  Though they had come close in previous years, the Dodgers hadn't won the championship since 1988, over 11,600 days ago, before most of the players on the current team were even born.  This just goes to show you the endurance and perseverance required to accomplish something meaningful; and that nothing good comes easy.  We see this in many areas of life: business, science, ministry, relationships, family life.  But sports are often a great metaphor for the Christian journey.  

 

I want to be faithful in my walk with God till the end.  Don't you?  Regardless of how old you are, don't you want to be found faithful like the servant in Matthew 25 who put to good use whatever the master entrusted him (his talents, resources, time) because he knew that the master would someday return and ask him what he's done.  In Matthew 25:19, it says "After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them."  Jesus' teaching indicates that the master's return was not quick or immediate though it was always to be expected.  Beloved, at what point you and I will see the Lord and need to give an account is not known but there will come a day.  And on that day, we long to hear Him say, as the master said to his servant here in Matthew, "Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!" 

 

In the Bible, the Christian walk is often compared to an athletic competition or a race.  Well here are some tips to help us run faithfully in our Christian walk.  These tips come from a devotional by Emily Riley entitled "The Christian Marathon."  

  • Be disciplined: “So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control.”  1 Corinthians 9:26-27
  • Run to win: “Do 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. 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."  1 Corinthians 9:24-25
  • Don’t look back: “But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 3:13-14
  • Get rid of what holds you back: “Let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”  Hebrews 12:1
  • Work past the pain: “I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me - the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.”  Acts 20:24

The Christian life is not a sprint, it's a marathon.  It is easy to get distracted or to run off course or to live life aimlessly.  Because the fruit of our labor does not always come quickly (see the Dodgers or the faithful servant), there's the possibility of growing weary and unfaithful.  But like an athlete who seeks the prize or the championship trophy, let us remain disciplined and keep our eyes on the goal which is Christ Jesus.  With prayer, devotion, and perseverance, He will give us the strength to endure even in these trying times.  Of this race or journey, the author of Hebrews says in chapter 12, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross . . . so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."  Christ's crucifixion and resurrection ensures our victory.  Then one final tip for us:

  • Remember the end goal: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day - and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”2 Timothy 4:7-8

Beloved, let us fix our eyes on Jesus and run the race with endurance and perseverance.

 

Pastor Darren