People around the world love sports. In fact, we might say that sports have become a religion to some, and the athletes who compete often are revered as gods.
The apostle Paul uses a sports analogy to describe the Christian journey. There is a race to be run—a goal that awaits us. Some of these goals can be run each day, while others—like the ultimate goal of finding our life in Christ—are eternal.
Much of the life of faith consists of perseverance, persistence, consistency, and faithfulness. In fact, if we live in Christ and if Christ lives in us, we find that we are energized by love and generosity, by helpfulness and service. These attributes allow us to run the longer distance, knowing that life is not a sprint but a marathon. Most often, our life’s journey is filled with any number of valleys and demanding hills. But we don’t get to the finish line without struggle, without sacrifice. God’s strength, however, prepares us to go the distance.
These details of the Christian life remind me of my grandparents, who lived at the intersection of many changes in their lifetimes. Transportation, energy, and communication technologies all changed, and yet they were able to embrace these changes and make their journey through faithfulness and helpfulness.
We live in a time of no less adaptation—the world is ever changing, and changing rapidly. But we can approach our life’s journey with faithfulness and perseverance.
Today is just another leg of the journey, but it counts. Run your best. Finish strong. And then press on.
Gracious God, thank you for giving me the strength I need to face today’s challenges. I press on in your love. Amen.
God is constantly performing works of renewal. Isaiah had warned Israel of judgment, yet here the prophet turns his attention to the other part of God’s message, that of restoration. God will breathe new life into the people, like sending rivers into the desert. The psalmist celebrates a communal festival in honor of the renewing deeds of God, who has turned their weeping into joy. Paul also experiences this work of renewal. He previously had boasted of his privileged position in society, but God has changed his thinking so that he considers his knowledge of Christ his greatest possession. In John a woman named Mary begins to point our attention to Christ’s coming passion by anointing Jesus’ feet. Crowds begin to gather, and the stage is set for the impending conflict.
Read Isaiah 43:16-21. When have you seen God make a way for a new thing in your life?
Read Psalm 126. Consider how your joy and laughter might heal others.
Read Philippians 3:4b-14. When has God’s strength helped you finish a race, literally or metaphorically?
Read John 12:1-8. God gives gifts to all of us. How do you share your gift from God with others?
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