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runner-stretchingA couple of weeks ago, I posted a poem – Sprint, Sprint, Sprint. Since then, I have had some additional thoughts about running the race to win; and I have received some great feedback. What follows is a mixture of those.

Most misunderstood the meaning of “sprint”. They thought it referred to the work of ministry – doing more of the good works we have been called to walk in. There is some of that in the meaning, but it is secondary. The primary meaning is “running after God”. This does not necessarily require additional work, but our being more intentional about the work we have been given.

It has also occurred to me that God may not be calling us to sprint all the time.  There are seasons for every purpose. Waiting on God and following after Him with intensity are both necessary for the one racing to win.

In any event, the question is still a good one: When did Paul start sprinting? Most of us (me included) have a mindset to run the race as if we are waiting for God to ring the bell for the last lap.  Our default intensity is jogging. It seems to me that Paul ran the race in a sprint; only easing up when instructed to do so.

Speaking of the bell for the last lap: How many of us have already heard the bell, only to dismiss it as coming from our TV or cell phone? Seriously, we are very distracted people. We would certainly be better racers if we removed a few distractions from our lives.

Finally, I wonder how many times Paul thought he just couldn’t sprint another second, only to find strength in his weakness. For what it’s worth, that is where I want to be; and God seems to be giving me the opportunity for it. I trust that He is working in me to will and do to His good pleasure.

Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him,
And He shall bring it to pass.
He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light,
And your justice as the noonday.
Psalms 37:5-6

Humbly yours and forever His,

God meets with me when I ride my bicycle. Exercise and communion with God, who wouldn’t love that? I try to remember to ask Him what He would have me pray. A couple of days ago, He encouraged me to pray for the grace to love Him more. Here’s what came to me.

Father God, I come to You, in Jesus Name, for the grace to love You with all my heart, mind, soul and strength.

I come believing, with all my heart, that You created me with the desire to know and love You, Your Son and Your Holy Spirit. I believe that You first loved me, and sent Your Son to die for my reconciliation with You. I believe that You allowed Him to be buried for me; that I might put off my old nature and put on Christ. I believe that You raised Him from the dead and seated Him with You, at Your right hand; and that I am raised with Him into saving life, to sit beside You, in Him.

I come to You for the renewing of my whole mind; to be transformed into the image of the glory of Your Son, and this by the Holy Spirit. I submit to His work; and I reckon Your word to be true for me. I commit, by Your grace, to put on the mind of Christ – to be humble and sacrificial in my love for the brethren.

I come to lay down my whole soul for the sake of Jesus Christ and the gospel; that I would find His life and salvation. I surrender my will to You; and I eagerly anticipate Your working in me to will and do to Your good pleasure. I receive Your kingdom. Your will be done.

I come to offer my whole body as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to You, as my reasonable service. I desire to be used as Your instrument of righteousness. I deny myself, to be used in Your service to others.

Father God, I come for grace to love my neighbors as myself. I believe You have put this desire in my heart – and the faith for it. I believe You have given me the mind of Christ for that love. I surrender to Your will for them; and offer my strength for Your use in making Yourself a glory in their sight.

Father God, I come to surrender, sacrifice and submit myself to Your work in me, and in the world – for Yourself, Your kingdom and Your glory. Amen.

I hope this prayer will be a useful blessing to you in your communion with our Father. I believe we should pray it every day.

Humbly yours and forever His,

Faith toward God is an elementary principle. It is a basic element of the Christian foundation. It is simple – milk for babes. Yet, as we discovered in Part 1, even the meaning of faith is more than most of us consider when we hear and use the word. In this article, we will search further – to be confident that we understand, believe and live in faith that is toward God.

For your convenience, here is the meaning of faith, developed from our study of Hebrews 11:1:

Faith is the conviction of truth, founded on the substantial quality and nature of the LORD; resulting in a steadfastness of mind, courage and assurance; to hope and wait for salvation with joy and full confidence. As such, it is the proof and test of things we cannot see.

Faith is more than a feeling; more than a decision. The LORD is its foundation. It is effectual to our becoming the people of God. It is the proof and test of the supernatural.

Having laid this portion of our foundation, we can now – with greater clarity – weigh the importance of faith that is toward God.

Faith Toward God

People have faith in many things, most of them gods of another kind. Some have faith that their team will make the playoffs; or faith in a particular presidential candidate. People of “other faiths” believe in Allah, Buddha and thousands of other deities. Society works hard to train us to have faith in ourselves.

Obviously, faith alone is not enough.

Similarly, Christian faith can be misdirected. Some Christians have faith in their faith; that it will save them. Others have faith in their Christian Leaders; that they will lead them into salvation. This is faith in the wrong direction.

Faith in faith, and faith in leaders, is not enough.

The way the writer of Hebrews phrased this principle is interesting. Why not “faith in God”? After all, Jesus told the disciples, “Have faith in God.” Faith in God is important faith.

As best as I can tell, this is not a matter of translation. There is something more here. The Holy Spirit inspired the use of the word “toward” to encourage and convict us. Read the rest of this entry »


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