Thursday, April 7, 2011

Running The Race - 3. Interrupted

Little ones start off so eagerly in the school cross-country run. They are all smiles as they do their warm-ups and line up at the starting line. In an attempt to be a cool and supportive mother I also line up and take my place with the runners. We don't get very far unfortunately.

Not too far into the race I end up with a growing band of girls who have stopped running, and are barely managing a brisk walk. There are stitches, a grazed knee, tired muscles, and weakened wills. They started with good intentions but something happened which stopped them and made them feel like they couldn't go on.

You started the year with good intentions. You wanted to be more devoted to God, maybe to attend church more or start going to a Bible study. You wanted to spend more time in prayer, or more time reading the Bible, you wanted to learn scripture to spur yourself and others on in the race of life. But you got interrupted.Interrupted by stress, busyness, heartache, contentedness, boredom, depression, work, ministry, friends, family.

Paul encourages Christians with these words, “You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth? That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you”. (Galatians 5:7-8)

No matter where the distraction comes from, we need to recognize that it is distracting us from running our race and deal with it accordingly. Whether we can change our circumstances or just change our perspective, we need to refocus our gaze on the one who calls us, and keeps calling us to look to Him in the midst of difficult or distracting circumstances.

Paul precedes that verse with this one, “…the only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” (Galatians 5:6) Even though our faith may not fail, it is only when we keep our eyes on Him that we are in step with Him and expressing our faith through love. Usually it is our response to those people or circumstances that cut in on us that show us how much our eyes and our hearts have strayed. Take for example your response to someone cutting in on you in traffic or in the supermarket line.

Do you want to get back in the race? Just fix your eyes on Jesus, submit yourself to Him, obey His commands, and let your faith be expressed in love towards Him and others. And next time we get interrupted, I pray that both you and I will see a different response thanks to His Spirit at work in us when our eyes are on Him.

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