Weather Report From Heaven: Sunny and bright, with an abundance of light and lots of singing and rejoicing.
Scripture- “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”- 2 Timothy 4:7
One question we must constantly ask ourselves is what are we running from and what are we running towards?. They say when you wake up in the morning in Africa and you’re a Gazelle, you better be running because if you don’t run fast enough, a Lion will catch you and kill you, and if you wake up and you’re a Lion in Africa, you better be running because if you aren’t fast enough to catch a Gazelle, you will starve to death. So either way, you better be running! Life is like a race. For some they treat it like a sprint, for others that pace is way too fast and they treat it like a marathon. But whether we treat life like a sprint or a marathon, we all are running a race. But a race against what exactly? Most people would answer that question as a race against time. Some want to get as much pleasure out of life in the time that they have to enjoy it. Others want to grow in whatever endeavor they are called to pursue and have a lifetime of meaning and significance. However, in reality, most of us are usually running away from something in our past that we are ashamed of and running towards something new in the future that we hope will bring us peace and contentment. The list of things we could be running from includes past mistakes, bad relationships, career choices, addictions, ourselves, responsibility, reality, and a whole myriad of other things. The things we are running towards could include financial security or freedom, retirement, a vacation, a 2nd home etc. But many times when we get there, wherever there is for us, we find those things don’t necessarily salsify either and so we start all over again. It can feel like an endless chase to find contentment if we don’t know where to look.
Paul in the Bible verse above was talking about having accomplished the goal of his faith, to persevere and finish the race strong. He had run away from his past life as a persecutor of those who followed the Christian faith, and ran to a fervent commitment to Jesus Christ and to preach the gospel on His behalf. Though he endured many hardships as a result of his commitment to Christ, he kept his eye on his eternal promise, “the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day.” 2nd Timothy 4:8 We all have to make a decision on what we are going to pursue in our lives. I have met many people whose lives are stuck in the past and their dreams have been mired by the sin that still controls them. Rather than coming to a place of repentance and freedom in Christ, their self pride keeps them from accepting the free gift of salvation, and they just keep making the same mistakes over and over. It is almost as if they are like a hamster on a wheel, running and running, and yet making no progress. They spend their entire life running from themselves and they tend to be running right towards their own destruction. There is a clear alternative. You can make a new path forward filled with hope and joy and free from the guilt of your past mistakes. How can you do this? By accepting the invitation of Jesus Christ as your savior. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, ” Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away and the new has come.” Our past mistakes don’t have to define us. Although there are always consequences for our past actions, there doesn’t have to be a lifetime of condemnation and guilt. Romans 8;1 promises “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, but we still love to beat ourselves up. Christ on the other hand wants to set us free. He dispenses unlimited mercy, grace, forgiveness and love. All the things we need for moving forward from our past quagmire are found in Christ Jesus. We find, like Paul, a new direction and purpose in our life through Him. He will protect us from the judgement of God due us at our day of reckoning through his merciful sacrifice on the Cross. He waits to lead us forward, forgetting the past, striving towards the future. Our sins are left behind us, their binding shackles removed once and for all. We are free to run and win the race of life, energized through our risen Lord. We find the strength to finish strong and claim the prize that awaits us at the finish line; An eternal resting place where we no longer have to race, but rather can rest from this life’s grueling race. Praise and glory be to God.
Prayer: Father God, help us find true contentment and rest in you, as we use the gifts you’ve giving us to love one another as you commanded us. You are the only solid ground left in this unstable world. May we chase after you with all of our might, In Jesus’ mighty name we pray. Amen!