1 Corinthians 9:24b – So run [your race] that you may lay hold [of the prize] and make it yours. (AMPC)
During the summer, out the window, I watched my three friendly squirrels racing about the yard and up and down their tree. The Lord has used them to teach me many important lessons.
Tippy arrived just recently, and is so named because of the white tip on the end of his black tail. He never stops running, and it almost wears me out just watching him. He is evidently devoted to his given task of collecting and storing food for the winter.
Tippy inspires me because he never seems to stop. It is as if he were saying, "Just because you're growing older" (my white hair is becoming quite prominent despite my efforts to cover it up), "doesn't mean you stop working for the Lord. He has a purpose for you in sharing the good news of the kingdom with others, no matter your age." Jesus clearly stated, "Seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and then all these things taken together will be given you besides." (Matthew 6:33 AMPC) I appreciate that reminder because, in my advancing years, the promise of being provided with "all these things" is very comforting.
I also admire Nippy. She, like Tippy, collects and stores food in the nest. I assume that Nippy is a female because she stayed in the nest during much of the early spring, then finally appeared once again with three babies, who quickly grew up and moved away. She seems to have the additional task of keeping a watchful eye for any enemies and defending the nest from marauders such as crows; hence, I have named her Nippy.
Likewise, we are reminded in God's Word to watch out for the enemy of our souls, Satan, the devil, who will use any method to undermine our relationship with our Lord. "Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour." (1 Peter 5:8 AMPC)
Finally, there is Dippy, who, sad to say, ignored the warning to be vigilant. Unlike his two friends, he stopped frequently to nibble on the delectable morsels he discovered, instead of taking them back to the nest to store for the winter. His carelessness and lack of commitment, due to his self-centredness, proved to be tragic, and resulted in his untimely end. He stopped running once too many times. The result of neglecting to watch for enemies became a vivid reality, and I watched with horror as a huge hawk swooped down and carried him away.
As believers, we must be continually aware of Satan's tactics, whether subtle or direct, and be prepared to defend our beliefs, always alert to opportunities to share them. "Withstand him; be firm in faith [against his onset — rooted, established, strong, immovable, and determined]." (1 Peter 5:9a AMPC) This is a vital part of the Father's instructions for each one of us as we run the race that He has set before us.
Prayer: Father in heaven, help us to study Your Word and to take it seriously. We know that You have a plan for our lives, and it is only by listening carefully and heeding Your instructions that we can navigate the pitfalls that the enemy has for us. Help us to faithfully and continually run the race that You have set before us, so that one day, we will hear those wonderful words, "Well done good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Lord." Amen.
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