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Monday, February 22, 2010

going on

This is my witness and statement of faith. The song is my intention and goal. The thoughts that follow incorporate my sermon to myself as well as admonition for those who might read it.

Know ye not that those who run in a race all run, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain it. 25And every man that striveth for mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible. 26I therefore so run, but not with uncertainty; I so fight, but not as one that beateth the air. 27But I keep control of my body, and bring it into subjection, lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. I Corinthians 9:24-27
The Olympics competitions made me remember Paul’s comments to the Corinthians when he talked of his intentions to follow God until the end. Not every one that runs a literal race can win, but we can win and we must run this spiritual race with the same determination to win that the runners have. We run with a determination. We must follow the example of those who compete in the literal arena and track. They keep their bodies in tiptop condition; they monitor all aspects of their life that they might be in condition to contend in the race

Our spiritual being must be in the same condition. We don’t compete against one another but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. How much greater and more serious is our struggle! And the result is not just a pretty medal around our necks or a crown on our heads, but the destination of our eternal soul!

I like Paul’s statement of how he conducts his life. He was determined to win his race and his battle with “sin, the flesh and the Devil” as the old ministers used to say. Look! Paul says, But [like a boxer] I buffet [pummel, batter] my body [handle it roughly, discipline it by hardships] and subdue it. He compares himself to the athlete in his self discipline for his Christian life. The athlete pushes his body to the utmost, doing whatever is necessary to bring it into shape to succeed. Paul applies the same strict attention to detail that the athlete uses to obtain the gold medal. Are we applying that same attention to our lives in Christ?

As the athlete eliminates every little thing that hinders his performance, are we eliminating every little sin and habit that hinders our righteous life in Christ? Are we maintaining the same self control that the athlete maintains?

Last night the analyst again was highlighting a skier’s performance and he noted that she shifted her body weight and ski angle in mid air that she might gain the tiny split second advantage when she landed her jump. In another situation, the analyst pointed out that the ski jumper had to deny his natural reflexive instinct by leaning forward at an angle parallel to his skis in order to obtain the maximum distance in his jump. Are we defying our natural fleshly inclinations to do the will of God. Or will we lose the race by excusing the small sins that so easily beset us.

Let’s have a determination as great as that of the athlete to finish the race for God.

I'm Going On!

I mean to go right on until the crown is won;
I mean to fight the fight of faith till life on earth is done.
I’ll nevermore turn back, defeat I shall not know,
For God will give me victory if onward I shall go.
I’m going on, I’m going on,
Unto the final triumph, I’m going on;
I’m going on, I’m going on,
Unto the final triumph, I’m going on.

Should opposition come, should foes obstruct my way,
Should persecution’s fires be lit, as in the ancient day—
With Jesus by my side, His peace within my soul,
No matter if the battle’s hot, I mean to win the goal.
I see a shining crown awaiting over there,
I see a mansion all prepared and decked with beauties rare:
Shall that which intervenes deprive me of my right?
Nay, on I’ll go until I reach that city of delight.
Then forward let us go, our hearts with love aflame,
Our snowy banner borne aloft, inscribed with Jesus’ name.
The hosts of evil flee, and heaven’s open gates
Invite me now to hasten where eternal glory waits.
I’m going on, I’m going on,
Unto the final triumph, I’m going on;
I’m going on, I’m going on,
Unto the final triumph, I’m going on.
Melody: http://library.timelesstruths.org/music/Im_Going_On/midi/

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