10 Abraham was confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God. – Hebrews 11:10
Abraham responded to the call of God in faith and started on a journey to a distant land not knowing where he was going. He didn’t ask God for a map of the whole journey, he just obeyed day by day. We keep asking God for His will for our life when all we really need to know is what does He want us to do right now. Does that mean that we live haphazard, unprepared lives? No, we can see that Abraham immediately prepared to go on a journey He packed up everything and started in the direction God told him. He prepared his family and himself for the journey without knowing the way or when the journey would end. Like Abraham, we don’t know the path or the amount of time we will be required to travel on the journey. God wants us to be like Abraham, prepare and pack for the journey but trust Him to direct our paths. Trust Him to take us to the Promised Land. Just as Abraham was sometimes disobedient and got off the straight and narrow path so do we. Through all of Abraham’s errors and sufferings, God was faithful and brought him back to the path. He does the same thing for us and more. He is living within each of us giving us directions constantly if we are listening and praying. When we fall, He picks us up, forgives us, loves us and encourages us to go on. We live in tents of flesh here on earth and some day we will shed those tents and take our final segment of the trip that leads to the city “whose architect and builder is God” where we will receive our inheritance along with Jesus. Focus on Jesus and keep our eyes on the prize!
17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. — Romans 8:17 NIV
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
3 Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up. — Hebrews 12:3 NLT
The people we read about in Chapter 11, successfully completed the course Jesus had laid out for them. Now, they are in heaven, cheering us on as we run our races. Just as we see worldly runners using lighter and lighter attire for their races, we must get down to our spiritual running weight. We do this by getting rid of all the cares and worries of this world. Jesus instructs us to “cast our cares upon Him”. When we do this, we are spiritually lighter and ready to run. We must stay focused on the prize, an eternity with Jesus. We do this by focusing on what Jesus did while He was here on earth and imitating Him. He is our hero and our champion. If we stay faithful and run with endurance to the finish line, we will be rewarded. We will be offended in this world, but most of us will never be offended to the point of dying for Jesus. Since we probably won’t have to die for Jesus, let’s live for Him.
14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. — Phil. 3:14 NLT
None of us will achieve perfection while we are clothed in this tent of flesh. However, we can never use that as an excuse for not trying to do better every day. We must keep our eyes and mind focused on Jesus. We must keep pressing onward and upward. Jesus tells us that once we have started the journey with Him, we should never look back Luke 9;61-62 NLT. Forget the past or satan will use it to beat you up mentally and spiritually every day. God has already forgotten our sinful past. When we grow weary, we should pray and wait upon the Lord, He will give us renewed strength to press on.
Psalm 40:28-31 NLT
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
24 Do 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. 25 Everyone 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. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, 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.—-1 Cor. 9:24-27 NIV
If we enter the race, we should run the race expecting to win. What would be the point in running if we didn’t try to win? If we are going to be a true competitor, we must train faithfully every day. If we do that to run an earthly race and win a temporary reward, shouldn’t we be much more serious about our Spiritual race? We must run our Spiritual race as if our lives depended on winning it because they do. If we are faithful in that race, we will get a crown that lasts forever. Every day is a battle and we must fight the battle with sincerity and purpose. We must bring our flesh under submission and follow after the Holy Spirit. We must strive for holiness so that we are not disqualified and fail to win the prize.
13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called
me heavenward in Christ Jesus.—Phil. 3:13,14 NIV
21 For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps.
God is waiting to show you the Way.
22 He never sinned, nor ever deceived anyone.
23 He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly.
24 He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed.
25 Once you were like sheep who wandered away. But now you have turned to your Shepherd, the Guardian of your souls.–2 Peter 2:21-25 (NLT)
As Christians, the only person we can use as our example is Jesus Christ. He is the standard that we should strive to live up to. We, of course, will never reach that standard but, as Paul said, we should continue to “press toward the mark”
13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.–Phil. 3:14,14 (NLT)
Any cases of injustice and offenses should be left in the hands of God. He will deal with those that are unjust in His own way and in His own time. We were once as helpless as sheep and needed a Shepherd and a Guardian. Jesus came to fulfill every need we have and He has done so abundantly. We are to walk in His steps. We will fall and when we do, He will carry us just like a shepherd carries a helpless lamb. We can lean on His everlasting arms and rejoice evermore.
11 But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them sing joyful praises forever.
Spread your protection over them, that all who love your name may be filled with joy. 12 For you bless the godly, O Lord; you surround them with your shield of love.–Psalm 5:11,12 (NLT).
1 This letter is from James, a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.
God is waiting to show you the way.
I am writing to the “twelve tribes”—Jewish believers scattered abroad.
2 Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.–James 1:1-4 (NLT)
Although James addresses this letter to the “twelve tribes”, the Holy Spirit included it in the Bible for our benefit as well. We are brothers and sisters of the Christian Jews, James and Jesus Christ. It emphasizes the statement that Jesus made when He said “in this world, you will be offended”. Troubles will come our way, of that we can be sure. There is a reason God allows trials and temptations to come into our lives. God knows our maturity level and what decisions we will make in those trying times. He allows those times so we will know where we are spiritually. Most of the time, if not all the time, we find that we have a long way to go to get to where God wants us to be. When the trials come, do we whine and complain or do we accept the situation realizing that God has put us here so we learn to depend on Him? There is nothing more sobering than when we realize that we have done what Peter did when he said he didn’t know Jesus. Oh, I am sure that we would never verbalize that, but what do our actions tell those around us? Like Paul, we should always realize that we are not there yet, but we should be focused on getting there.
13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.–Philippians 3:13,14 (NLT)
12 I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. 13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. 15 Let all who are spiritually mature agree on these things. If you disagree on some point, I believe God will make it plain to you. 16 But we must hold on to the progress we have already made.–Phil. 3:12-16 (NLT)
God is waiting to show you the way.
None of us will achieve perfection while we are clothed in this tent of flesh. However, we can never use that as an excuse for not trying to do better every day. We must keep our eyes and mind focused on Jesus. We must keep pressing onward and upward. Jesus tells us that once we have started the journey with Him, we should never look back (Luke 9:62). Forget the past or satan will use it to beat you up mentally and spiritually every day. God has already forgotten our sinful past (Psalm 103:12). When we grow weary, we should pray and wait upon the Lord, He will give us renewed strength to press on (Isaiah 40:31).