Autumn/Winter 2016-17 Issue

The following posts are part of the Autumn/Winter 2016-17 Issue. Articles that are in this issue contain information about secret sodomites, imperfect Christians, Christian dating, what the Bible says about hating the government or its authorities, common misinterpreted scriptures in the new devotional series called “Wrong Verses Right,” healthy scalp maintenance for headcovering wearers, and more!

full course
Estimated Reading Time: 12 minutes

The writer of Hebrews likens the Christian life to a long distance race (Hebrews 12:1-3 KJV).  He exhorts believers to “let us run with patience the race that is set before us.” To run this marathon successfully, we must have faith in God and the promises in His Word. The Apostle says, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him” (Hebrews 11:6 KJV).

Use Sustained Effort

The race of faith, the most important race of our life, requires strict discipline to get into good shape. Anyone who has run long distances knows the feeling—from the top of your head to the soles of your feet, every nerve fiber throbs. My son ran track and cross-country while in school. Joshua trained three hours per day, performed sprints, ran repeated miles and lifted weights. He trained to win. My son’s desire to run the best race possible affected what he ate and drank, how much he slept, and how he managed his time. Believers, too, need to be consistent, work hard, and endure pain.

The women’s marathon was among the events at the Summer Olympics Game. There some of the greatest athletes of all times ran to outperform their opponents. The modern Olympics have their roots in ancient Greece. The Apostle Paul uses the analogy of an athletic race to describe the Christian’s spiritual growth. He tell us, I keep my body under, and bring it into subjection…” (See 1 Corinthians 9:25-27 KJV).

[25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.

26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:

27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. ~1 Corinthians 9:25-27 KJV]

Run Unencumbered

Many of the Olympic runners wear ultra-high tech, track apparel that is aerodynamic and where less in design is more. These women don’t want anything to slow them down or sap their energy. You and I won’t grow in faith—stop tripping over our sins and run the race successfully—unless we “lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us” (Hebrews 12:1 KJV).

 Ask Yourself

What is slowing me down? Where are the time wasters? How can I continue to grow? Am I digging deeply into God’s Word so when the unexpected comes, I can respond? Am I looking to Jesus and running to win? Our faith in God grows as we attend to His Word and in obedience apply its precepts to our lives, make prayer a habit, and worship and fellowship with others.  Remember you are precious in His sight.  Run your course.

Run Lawfully

The Apostle Paul says, “know ye not that they who run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize?” He encourages the believers in Corinth to “so run that ye may obtain.”

[Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize?  So run, that ye may obtain. ~1 Corinthians 9:24-25 KJV]

Finishing well is everything. However, we are not to strive to win at any cost. In our day some runners have been involved in scandals and been accused of taking performance enhancing substances.

Integrity and Conviction

“When I run, I feel God’s pleasure,” said Eric Liddell. Born to Scottish missionaries while living in China, he went to Scotland and became that country’s acclaimed sprinter and their only chance for a gold medal in the 1924 Paris Olympics.

In order to prepare for the Olympic track, he was asked to run on Sunday—a day set aside for attending church and to worship God. He placed himself at a great disadvantage, but refused to run. He received criticism from his countrymen and the press. We shouldn’t be surprised when non-believers are unsympathetic to our values and way of living. We’re competing with the enemy of our souls.

During the week, Eric trained by running a 200 meter race and qualified to run in the 400 meter Olympic track. On the last day of the competition Liddell went to the starting blocks. An opposing team leader handed him a note that read, “Those who honor me, I will honor.” With that piece of paper in hand, he ran. As Eric rounded the turn on the track where all the runners usually come together, he expected to see the world record holders ahead of him. He was there alone. He threw his head back even more than usual, pumped his legs as fast as he could and crossed the finish line first, winning the gold medal. Eric achieved the highest glory, but not through sacrificing his commitment to God’s Word. Let us run our race with integrity and conviction.

In his book Made for His Pleasure, Alistair Begg, senior pastor at Parkside Church and heard on the radio program, Truth For Life, writes,Pleasing God is not a matter of personal choice, but an imperative that must be taken seriously. In a world of self, we must give way to the priority of God if we want to experience His joy.”

Later, Eric Liddell accepted God’s further call on his life. He returned to China—a country no longer friendly to missionaries and at war—to serve the people with the Gospel. He became a great source of inspiration to other Christians while confined with them in a Japanese prison.

Patient Endurance

Are you dissatisfied with the course? Perhaps you’re exhausted from doing too much. Your emotional and mental energy is failing as you battle to keep a positive outlook and trust God. Maybe your body presents a challenge with ailments that slow you down. Have you fully submitted to the sovereign will of God? Keep in mind your Heavenly Father loves you. He set the course. Focus on the finish. Don’t give up.

After months of serious health concerns and the death of her brother, Liz Curtis Higgs, author and speaker, in her blog post at the beginning of January writes, “Believers aren’t exempt from life’s various tests and troubles and manifold temptations. In fact, God says they’re good for us. They make us who we are: men and women of God, unwavering in our faith, a worthy witness to His power. It’s our faith being put to the test, with ‛spiritual maturity’ as the goal.”

[“Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.” ~James 1:3 KJV]

I know first hand the disappointment felt when a positive answer you hoped to get is not the one you receive. Do you also yearn to obtain a heartfelt goal? Do you cherish a life-long dream—one that you’re convinced God placed in your heart—that seems impossible? When the goal you’ve set for yourself seem unobtainable.  Remember our chief goal is to seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.  We’re always in sync with God’s will when we ask Him to direct our paths.  When your dreams are yet unrealized and you’re tempted to despair, pray for patient perseverance while you wait on His perfect timing.

If you don’t run with endurance, you won’t get the prize. Patient perseverance requires a particular mindset and a willingness to push past the pain. Avoiding the difficult is never good physically or spiritually and is a hindrance to our growth. When the track becomes too difficult and you are tempted to quit, read Acts 20:20-24 [and] 2 Timothy 4:6-8.

[“20 And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house,

21 Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.

22 And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there:

23 Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me.

24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. ~Acts 20:20-24 KJV]

 

[For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.

I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:

Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.~2 Timothy 4:6-8 KJV]

We run with endurance by fixing our eyes on Jesus. Steven J. Cole, Pastor of Flagstaff Christian Fellowship, in an article titled Faith to Run The Christian Marathon, dated 2004, writes, “Fixing our eyes is literally ‘looking off to.’  The idea is, taking your eyes off of other things and focusing on Jesus alone.”

Don’t Look Back

I can be easily distracted by the cares of this life. Like a runner, I need a clear focus on where I’m going and a clear goal in mind. In Phillippians 3:13 [KJV], the Apostle Paul tells us he is “forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before.”  He shares the secret of his own success in living the Christian life in verse 14, “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Refocus on Jesus and the joy of receiving the crown of righteousness that He has promised and run the race set before you.

Motivation

This is key to running a successful race. Keep in mind our forebearers in the faith, the Old Testament saints, for encouragement.  Read Hebrews [chapter] 11.  Remember the apostles and early Christian leaders, such as Timothy and Silas. Call to mind faithful sisters in the Lord—those in our church family, teammates cheering us on—and mighty women such as Elizabeth Elliott, Gladys Aylward and Amy Carmichael.  Consider these and many more who ran the race of faith.  They encourage you to do the same.

Above all, look to Jesus—the one with all power. Read again Hebrews 12:2-3.  As author and finisher of our faith, He gives everything needful. Let us continue to grow in faith, look to Him and run to win. In these ways, you and I bring pleasure to God, and we shall receive the crown that perishes not.

[2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. ~Hebrews 12:2-3 KJV] 

 

Cite this article: Please update the Accessed or Retrieved date (September 13, 2015).
MLAChicagoAPAAbout the Author
“Running to Feel God’s Pleasure” AWS Magazine Online. Pat Jeanne Davis. Savior Sanity LLC., 1 Aug. 2016. Web. 13 Sept. 2015. <https://awomansaved.com/running-to-feel-gods-pleasure-by-pat-jeanne-davis/>.
“Running to Feel God’s Pleasure” AWS Magazine Online. August 1, 2016. Accessed September 13, 2015. https://awomansaved.com/running-to-feel-gods-pleasure-by-pat-jeanne-davis/>.
Davis, P. J. (2016, August 1). Running to Feel God’s Pleasure Retrieved September 13, 2015, from https://awomansaved.com/running-to-feel-gods-pleasure-by-pat-jeanne-davis/>.

Thank you for reading!

Pat Jeanne Davis

VERIFIED CONTRIBUTOR

Bio:

Pat Davis writes from her home in Philadelphia, Pa.  She is wife to John and mom to Johnny and Joshua. She enjoys flower gardening, genealogy research and travel. Her work appeared in Guideposts, The Lookout, Bible Advocate, Faith & Family, GRIT Magazine, Splickety Magazine, Sasee Magazine, Ruby For Women Magazine, Woman Alive and Chicken Soup for the Soul books. She has completed two historical inspirational novels and is represented by Leslie H. Stobbe Literary Agency. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. Pat loves to hear from her readers.   
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