How Far

Published on Jul 5th, 2017 by Pastor Ed Hlad | 0
How Far

How Far I have been doing some studying and meditating in the book of Titus. In chapter 2 Paul speaks about the two appearings of Jesus. The first he refers to as the appearing of the grace of God and the second is referred to as the appearing of the glory of God. Jesus is the revelation to us of the grace and glory of God. His life here on earth was all about the will of the Father. So much so that he was referred to as the grace and glory of God. See Jesus and you see the Father. The passage that we are speaking of in Titus is a passage that is sharing how we are to live in between those two appearings. We live in grace as we look toward glory. But we are also to live in such a way that reflects that our lives have been changed by this grace and is waiting for the glory that is ours. People should be able to look at our lives and see the grace and glory of the Father.

Paul, writing to his spiritual son and near the end of his life, writes this, “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” Paul lived his life like Jesus lived his life. He sought and desired nothing more than to live for the glory of God. He went where God called him to go. He preached what God called him to preach. He made sure that his life reflected the work that God was doing in his life. Now, at the end of his life, he looked forward to seeing his Savior face to face. No regrets. He had run a good race and was looking forward to the prize that God had promised him.

I have never run a marathon (and do not see myself running one in the near future) but I would imagine that somewhere in the run you must get into a zone where you are simply moving forward. You are not exhausted yet and so you are not having to fight for each next step. You are probably running distracted and you’re mind is drifting from thought to thought. Maybe you are lost in the song that you are listening to in your ear buds. Sometimes I believe we run the race that God has set before us in that way. We are moving forward. We are running the race but we are simply going through the motions. We are doing the things that we have always done but not really thinking about the next step. If people were to look at our lives they would agree that we are running the race but in our hearts and heads we are simply going through the motions.

When I watch competitive racing, which I admit is not very often, the people running with purpose are those who keep checking their watches. They have their minds and hearts set on a goal. They are looking to complete their race in record time. We often, for brief moments in our lives, lose sight of our goal. We are simply doing rather than living for the glory of God. We are running but maybe our stride is a little off. Our language is a little rougher. Our hearts are a little colder. Worship is dull and more about what we like rather than about lifting up the name of Jesus. We are not very sensitive to the needs of others. We run for our own glory and not the glory of the Father. The Word of God gives us help for these times. Just like the runner who runs on purpose, we need to continually look at our watches. We need to fix our eyes on Jesus. We need to press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Jesus. We need to long to hear, “Well done thou good and faithful servant.” Our lives are not about ourselves. We need to present our bodies, each day, as a living sacrifice. We need to take up our crosses daily to follow Jesus. Our prayers should be about his will and not ours.

God, in his great love for us, does not allow us to run this way for long. He brings pot holes, or hills, or curves in our race to keep us focused on him. He, kindly, seeks to fill our ear buds with his voice. He brings us to a funeral so that we can take stock of life. He gently but abruptly reminds us that we are unable to run this race without him. We began this race by grace, we are sustained in the race through grace, and we will finish the race in grace. Isaiah tells us that we can run and not be weary if we wait on him. Fix your eyes on Jesus. He makes your crooked path straight and gives strength to run so that you are not weary in your well doing.

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