Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Be Thou My Vision"1 (Lyrics)
Philippians 3:14 – I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (NASB)
Earlier this month, I was immersed in watching the games of the Summer Olympics on television from London, England. The athletes marched into the stadium nation by nation during the opening ceremony. All looked proud and hopeful that they would win a prize, for they had worked for four years or more to become proficient in their sports.
During the two-week course of the games, my favourite venues were gymnastics, beach volley ball, swimming, water polo, basketball, and soccer. It was exciting to see how the athletes worked so hard, striving to obtain the coveted gold medal. Nations were reported to have "pushed" their athletes to excellence in the prior four years so that they would improve their standing in the current contest. A definite improvement was achieved.
Watching the athletes strive for excellence by demonstrating their great stamina in their sport, gave me the realization that we as Christians must run our life's race with staying power as well. We are encouraged to run with endurance the race that is set before us.
Hebrews 12:1-2 – Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (NASB)
As a reward for our faithfulness, our inheritance as Christians who follow the will of our Lord is also described symbolically as an imperishable crown.
1 Corinthians 9:24-25 – Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. (NKJV)
As the closing ceremony began, the athletes filed in as one, symbolizing the unifying power of the Olympic Games. They marched with jubilation, with joyful smiles on their faces, in a spirit of celebration. My thoughts took me to a future time when we will have an unending celebration with the King of kings and Lord of lords. Hallelujah!
Prayer: Our heavenly Father, we come to You with eyes and hearts full of love for You. The race of life for many of us is very difficult. We will look to Jesus as the perfect example of how to run the race, for He shed His precious blood for us on Calvary's cross. We ask for Your strength to carry us through to the end. We ask this in the precious name of Jesus. Amen.