Theme of the Week: Book of the Bible – Philippians
Bible Verse: 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 towards what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14
Scripture Reading: Philippians 3:10-21
In the 1968 Olympics, John Stephen Akhwari finished in last place. He crossed the finish line more than an hour after the winner did. And yet, Akhwari’s performance that day was the most celebrated. Why?
Near the beginning of the race, he was involved in a melee of athletes jockeying for position. He fell, smashed his shoulder against the pavement, gashed his knee, and suffered a dislocation. Most assumed that because of his injuries, he would pull out of the race. But not Akhwari. After receiving some medical attention, he got back on his feet and continued to run, although it was a much slower pace than he had trained for.
Finally, he crossed the finish line. When he was asked why he kept on running, his response was, “My country did not send me 5,000 miles to start the race,” he said. “They sent me 5,000 miles to finish the race.”
In another one of his letters, Paul writes, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race” (2 Timothy 4:7).
This is the goal of the Christian life. It is not to run the race perfectly. It is not to be without falls or stumbling. The fact is that we will all mess up. The Bible teaches that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
Proverbs 24:16 says, “For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again.” By God’s grace, we rise again.
Don’t give up when you find that you blow it as a dad or husband. Don’t give up when you give in to sexual temptation. Don’t give up when you struggle in your faith.
Forget what is behind. Strain towards what is ahead. Press on to win the prize that God has promised you in Christ Jesus.
You weren’t called to just start the race; you were called to finish the race!
Prayer: Lord Jesus. I have fallen. I have failed. The enemy would like to see me give up, to quit. And I feel that desire in my own heart. But Lord, be my strength. Help me to get back up on my feet and to start running again. By your grace, help me to finish the race well. I press on towards You. I fix my eyes on You. I am running to You. Thank you for forgiving my sins. Thank you for patching me up. Thank you for cheering me on the whole way. Amen.
Reflection: Where do you feel like giving up? Where does it feel too hopeless to go on? Share that with someone and ask them to pray for you to have the strength to get up and keep going.
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