On your mark . . . get set . . .

NYC Marathon 2008 - the winner! Brasil

(Photo credit: Marcos Vasconcelos Photography)

I am not a runner. I was not born with a graceful athletic body with long lithe limbs, a love of tireless training and the natural high that comes after crossing the finish line. But the spiritual runner Paul describes in Philippians, any of us can be one. As he says here, he forgets what is behind and strains toward what is ahead, Philippians 3:13.

Paul has quite the resume if you read from the beginning of chapter 3. But he says that once God called him on the Damascus Road he accepted the call and was singular in purpose for the Lord which grew into deep spirituality and the success of his ministry. He put out of his mind all the distractions he once knew and he stretched out like a runner in a race who strains toward the goal with body bent forward and hand and foot outstretched. Single-minded dedication. No time for regretful backward glances.

Paul is keeping his eyes fixed on the goal. He knows that he or she who pushes to win sees little else but the objective. We are poised on the edge of glory, the cusp of eternity. We must strain toward the goal like an athlete who has worked for this day. Don’t be turned aside by applause or insult, don’t relax, don’t stumble, don’t stop. We must continually press forward until the goal is reached and we have pushed through the tape marking the finish line.

Therefore, whatever God calls you to do, in all the work you are doing do the best you can. Give it your all. Live and work each day as if you were doing it for the Lord (Colossians 3:23), He is your Master and CEO who will supply the grace and strength of an athlete and soon we will cross the final finish line and heaven will be ours.

Encourage one another with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:18

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