Thursday, August 04, 2016

Run the Race. Win the Prize. (2 Timothy 2:5)

Today’s scripture: 2 Timothy 2:5

Yesterday, we looked at Paul’s comparing our Christian walk to that of a soldier. Today’s verse likens us to athletes.

Let me start by saying I’m not an athlete. Not at all. Didn’t do sports in high school. I only exercise now because I’m not getting any younger, and I need to do what I can to keep this aging body in working order.

However, I do understand one thing about athletics: In order to win, one must play by the rules. Players and sometimes entire teams are disqualified because they cheated. They used steroids to enhance performance. They stole the playbook.

Most sports have certain “fouls” that can cost points or give the other team an edge.

Yes. In order to win, we must play by the rules.

So if we’re athletes for Christ, if we’re seeking to “win the prize,” what rules are we to follow? And what is the prize anyway?

The rules are found in God’s word. And the two most important rules were given by our Lord Jesus Himself. We’re to love the Lord—heart, soul, mind, and strength—and we’re to love others as we do ourselves (Mark 12:29-31).

If we follow these rules, the rest fall into place. If we love God, we’re going to want to serve Him. We’re going to want to do His will. We’re going to want to please Him with our actions, our words, and our thoughts.

And if we love others, we’re going to treat them with kindness and gentleness. We’re going to show mercy. We’re not going to gossip or lie or steal. We’re not going to cheat or put down.

If we follow the rules, we’ll one day receive the prize: eternity with our Lord Jesus Christ. Knowing that prize awaits us makes following the rules, while not easy, certainly worth it.

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