On Sunday, Pastor Jeremy continued our series, “As for Me and My House” and reminded us of the race we are called to run. We are not cheerleaders on the sidelines waiting for Jesus to come back. We are in the game making plays and changing the game in our lives. Without the knowledge of our place in the game, we will run aimlessly wondering why we are being chased when the ball is in our hands.
In 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, Paul addresses the kind of race we are in, 24Do 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. 25Everyone 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. 26Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”
The kind of games he was referring to were the games in Rome where the result was life and death. If you did not win, you lost your life and for what? A crown made out of leaves that only lasted until your next battle. The race that we run will have a reward much greater than a temporary crown. Ephesians 6:12 tells us, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Our battle is not that of the Romans, but is one that can change whose authority we allow to influence us. We are not fighting the devil. Jesus already made a public spectacle of Him on the cross by demolishing sin and death. When we start lining up with the belief that the devil won over the belief that God won, we lose all over again. Our job is to fight from the victory Jesus so beautifully sacrificed His life for and lead others into that victory. Hosea 4:6 reveals that we are destroyed by our lack of knowledge. Knowing that you are running this race of faith with the victory already won will change everything. A defeated mindset results in defeat, but a mindset set on the victor Himself gives you the confidence you need to face any fight.
Another important thing to know is that we were are not running this race alone.
Hebrews 12:1-2 says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” The great cloud of witnesses is comprised of those in the faith that have gone before us. They ran their race and now they have passed the baton and are cheering us on as we run ours. Part of why the race of our faith can seem difficult is because we do not see our place in the race. If we have been living our lives as cheerleaders instead of competitors, no wonder we have been feeling like we are getting beat up at every turn. We are out on the field without the proper knowledge or training to win the game. If a cheerleader played in a football game, she would not have the proper knowledge, gear or training to play the game effectively without getting hurt.
Before Gladiators would fight in Rome, they would buy expensive oil to put all over their body so that the enemy would lose their grip on them. The anointing of God is the same way. God wants to rub His oil on you so that when you step into the ring the enemy loses his grip on you. The anointing of God is costly and does not come through everything being perfect. It comes through your difficulties, but when you surrender to Him and follow His lead, the difficulties lose their grip on you and you begin to walk in a mindset of victory instead of defeat.
In whatever you are facing today, ask God to show you your position and how to train for what comes next. Let go of control and allow His love to guide you out of the fear that has held you for so long and run the race you are meant to live. It does not matter what has entangled you in the past. It does not have to entangle you today. As Paul says in 1 Timothy 6:12, “Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” You have all of Heaven cheering you on. It is never too late to take your place as a competitor in this race and see God move powerfully in your life!