The Race

In preparing my message for Sunday morning I am struck with conviction. We are currently doing a series on Acts with our Middle Schoolers. This week we are looking at Acts 20.

In Acts 20 we see Paul traveling quite a bit. He travels to Greece, Syria, Macedonia, Philippi, Toras, Assos, Mitylene, Kios, Samos, Miletus, and Ephesus, all on his way to Jerusalem. It is his words to the leaders in Ephesus that strike me.

He tells them that he is being compelled to go to Jerusalem, not knowing what may happen to him there. Clearly his life was in danger because of the radical message of grace that he was preaching. He says in verse 24, "..I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me - the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace." For someone like me, living in this prosperous American culture, that is a spirit that is hard to grasp. Paul elaborates further on this spirit in Philippians 3:7-11.

Here are some radical and for me very convicting words...

"But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead."

That is the race I want to run...I think. It's a radical race. It's a race that I believe God wants me to run. It definitely requires a shift in thinking. We must see all the stuff we acquire in this life as "rubbish" and see living out the gospel of Jesus as the most important aspect of life.

What are your thoughts? What is it going to take to truly run such a race?


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