Life is won or lost today!

To live for God is to be blessed to an extreme that is beyond the measure of anything else. To live for God is to accept His invitation to join the race of life. For our participation on His team — having forsaken our own — He promises to train us to finish well on the way to the victory He has already secured for us in His name.

The steps that I should take have been charted out for me from the beginning of this contest, so I accept the call and strain every day to bring my body and mind into agreement with them. And, as difficult as it is to live for the goals my Trainer has set before me, they enable me to become the dedicated runner I need to be in order to grow more excited as I pass each mile-marker.

I don’t race on confident in the caliber of my own ability, but though I constantly slip up and fall down, I rejoice because He who facilitates my performance is fully able to use all these things to make me more focused and obedient to Him. I do not get anxious in spite of the obstacles that slow me down because they are my helpers in disguise; they remind me that this race is not about me, but every feat I accomplish along the way is not exclusive of my efforts. When I make a mistake, Christ picks me up, dusts me off and reminds me that I rest in His perfection and not my own; I am a winner not because of my medals, but because He has chosen me as His medal.

I race because my spot was purchased for me; I have been given the promise that if I leave the wasted life of sideline-living to take the place selected for me in this challenge and continue to press on despite the obstacles, I will realize the larger purpose in being out on this road and cease worrying over how I do.

Where does this assurance come from? Not cockiness, not foolishness, not self-preparation. I know that the One I run for already finished my race for me that I might now run in the foot-path of His monumental death to self. I owe none of my joy in being on this run to my efforts or successes, but like my Savior, I look beyond the heaviness of these present trials and the fatigue they create in me to the joy before me. When this all ever I will have the awesome privilege of knowing eternity with no separation from my Lord.

I want to win, but everything I once held onto to secure that place I have left behind. I race on, but not for the glory of grabbing whatever I can find and making from it a winning campaign, but I race for the sake of what I already have and what I will have. I race because of what I have found — because I know that God’s greatest treasure of companionship, fulfillment, and peace have already been won for me, and that it will furnish all the power I need to finish my part of this race.
I’m not here to try to win on my own strength, but to showcase the beauty of racing in the stride of the only One who finishes this life-race (the race for our Salvation) to His own acclaim.

I don’t boast because I have won and everyone else has lost, but because Someone else has Won in place of all of our losses — even when acknowledging this includes testifying to my loss. I see myself and all of my fellow racers in the same boat and I rejoice that we are not left in our last positions, but are welcomed to become part of the Star Racer’s line. And I enjoy the winnings all the more in welcoming others into it. He is my reward, and I know it well when I can share Him with others.

How shall I know power if I am weak?

What does God’s power look like, do you think? Must it always appear the same way — should it always be stationed in the same vicinities and triumph by predictable means?

Or, is our God ever unique? Is He steadfastly after our hearts and our neighbors hearts — who ever they happen to be at the moment — in new and exciting ways?

Can He be capable of more than we can see? And what is more convicting: Is He possibly now busily at work accomplishing works of redemption and healing while we complain that His mercies are no where to be found?

What if the kindnesses of God have escaped our view not because He has hidden every trace of hope from us, but because we have chosen blindness over seeing Him? Is it not true that we cannot see the works of a Savior unless we look for Him first?

And from where might a Savior emerge? Doesn’t He show up more regularly on the scene of disaster than a parade of bliss? Doesn’t He pass by unnoticed in the ho-hum days when there is no evidence of our need/desire for His services? Isn’t He crucial to our existence only on a desperation basis?

Therefore, if we need His rescue, the only thing that could prevent us from receiving its benefits would be in denying either our need or His ability. The first error of a desperate sinner with an unexplainable aversion to rescue is rooted in apathy. Despite being suspended over hell by consequences of our own actions, we excuse the situation from which we need escape as something that is “really not that bad” whether this is due to ourselves not being that bad, or God being too precise in His expectations of our repentance.

The second error is also a quality of faithlessness, but in this case it is sated in doubt of God that is a disguise for woefully misplaced grief. We know we are in a bad spot, and that there is no undoing what we have done to get ourselves here, but if only God had helped us be better people, we would not be in this spot. God is the reason we are here on death row at all.

The cure for both apathy and self-pity is nothing less than choosing to believe God for what His Word says. Faith in God — the strenuous and only legitimate work of the soul — takes hold of the gospel in such a way that it turns us out of our own one-man sin party and instead compels our spirits to be united to the God of heaven. It recognizes that we are sinners at no fault of God’s yet He has mercifully reached out to save us. We will accept His offer at whatever terms He gives us; trusting that He will fulfill His promises to completely transform us into God-fearing and God- glorifying individuals that will one day fill His presence with praise and passion.