Thought for the
Week - 28th June 2020
A few years ago, I heard a radio advertisement for joining the Army. The voice of a young lady said, “I thought you had to be athletic to join the Army, but on my run, I was the one lagging behind at the back of the group. The trainer came next to me, but instead of shouting at me as I thought he would, he ran with me. Now I’m a PE Instructor in the Army.”
This reminded me of what Jesus does for each of us. In the bible, discipleship is often referred to in terms of running a race. The writer of the book of Hebrews said, “ ... 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.” (Hebrews 12:1)
The Christian life includes resting in God, walking with God and running the race with God.
In Matthew 11:28-29 Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Taking the yoke of Jesus means we live in obedience to His word and seek His will for our lives. God is patient with us as we desire to walk closer to Him.
When I take a step towards pleasing God, He runs to help me. I come to Him with open hands and the Lord strengthens me with His open arms. Resting in the knowledge and security of who we are ‘in Christ’ will enable us to keep running when life gets difficult.
When all the Churches closed for lockdown, a minister friend said to me, this was like a ‘sabbatical time’ for all of us. A spiritual sabbatical is a time of rest, enabling us to reflect, review and seek the Lord’s direction afresh for our lives away from our usual work and routine.
I read again recently that we should ‘work from the place of our resting.’ All too often we reverse that order and find ourselves busy and tired and have to ‘rest from our working.’
I am using this time to seek the Lord as to the things He may want me to lay down or delegate, so I can either prioritise ministry or take up new tasks. Resting in God is like sitting at the feet of Jesus awaiting instructions. Waiting and resting is not wasted time, but the best preparation time. As we pray and read God’s Word, we will hear His voice. From there we arise afresh, walk with God enjoying his fellowship and friendship but also ‘run with perseverance’ in His will for us.
In the Old Testament, God said, “Observe the commands of the LORD your God, walking in His way and revering Him.” (Deuteronomy 8:6). When Jesus called His first disciples, He taught them, exampled the life that was pleasing to God and walked with them to encourage, guide and goad.
Just as the Army instructor on the radio advert drew alongside the trainee, to spur on, encourage and bring out their potential, the Holy Spirit comes alongside us in our journey of faith (whether we are walking or running the race) to strengthen and empower for the work He has in store for us.
Paul said to Timothy, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for His appearing. (2 Timothy 4:7-8)
As we do the same, this is our heavenly hope, our supreme prize, to live in the presence of our LORD, Saviour and King Jesus – forever!.