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10 Minutes Peace

    by Susan McGrath

The Prize
Date Posted: January 14, 2006

With the new year, many people begin running or working out in some way to facilitate that dream of losing weight and getting in shape. Some even set the goal of running an endurance race when spring arrives.

My bible study group recently pondered Hebrews 12:1-3: "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."

That's a lot to ponder!

We began with discussing what might hinder us. "Sin that so easily entangles" is listed separately. So we agreed that those hindrances could include obligations and commitments that cause us to take time away from God and our families. Not necessarily something bad, just something extra or of minor importance.

Then we moved on to how the "race" of the Christian life is a marathon, not a sprint, and that we need to have endurance and keep our focus on the finish line where Christ is waiting for us.

One of the questions we were asked to answer in the study was "How can the gift of salvation be reconciled with the Christian life as a race?"

My feeling was that the gift of salvation is our hope, the incentive that gets us to the finish line. It's like handing a runner a new pair of top-of-the-line shoes. It provides the means and an incentive to at least finish the race. In 1 Corinthians 9:24 Paul urges Christians to "run so as to get the prize. . . a crown that will last forever." He also says he does not "run aimlessly".

Salvation equals running shoes for the Christian. It will help us get to the finish line so we can claim the prize. The great thing about our spiritual race is that we don't have to race against others, but with them. We help each other reach the goal.

And the goal is to finish. To endure the course of this world with Christ as our sponsor. In fact, He needs to shine from our lives more clearly than if we had him emblazoned our clothes like a logo. He has already won the victory, we just get to share in the prize.

Any distance runner will testify that it takes strict training to be able to finish a race. The spiritual race requires training as well: study of scripture, prayer, fellowship and time spent with God.

Since ours is a race of endurance, we can and should take time to recruit others to run with us and support those with blisters and shin splints. We need to remember that this is a race where everyone can share in the prize and the victory will be sweeter for all!

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Biography Information:
Susan McGrath is:

a recovering journalist trying to encourage others and glorify God through writing;

living the small-town life with husband Tim and sons Lincoln, 12, and Sawyer, 6;

completing a few put-off writing projects while using chocolate for therapy.
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