Tuesday, September 7, 2010

WINNING THE TOUR DE FRANCE

WINNING THE TOUR DE FRANCE
A. Brother
©2010 Narrowgate Publishing

“Run in such a way as to get the prize.”
1 Cor. 9:24

“’Everything is permissible for me’—but I will
not be mastered by anything.  ‘Food is for the stomach
and the stomach for food’—but God will destroy them both.”
1 Cor. 6:12,13

“…I beat my body and make it my slave
so that after I have preached to others,
I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”
1 Cor. 9:27

As believers reborn in Christ, and now having the Spirit of God living in us, we need God’s eyes to see the truth about our bodies, and in fact, all things temporary.  One thing we must understand is the ownership issue.

God owns us now.  We were bought with a high price, the life of His Son.  Redemption is the verbal expression of that concept.  We were bought back from being slaves to sin, and so released from our debt to sin and death.

Now, as redeemed and set apart people who live in the Kingdom of God, and are chosen out of the world, how should we live?

We know that sin is seeking to master us throughout life.  That we are called to live pure, holy lives now that we are Christ’s, and Christ is ours.  Yet we struggle, and we try, and often in vain we work at keeping our hands pure.  Why is this?

We don’t know the power of Christ over sin within these mortal and weak vessels we call bodies.

Paul knew the power of Christ within him.  He had been crucified with Christ.  He no longer lived, but Christ lived in him.  He wanted the same for all whom Christ gave him.  Here he is giving us understanding of how he could endure such suffering, and have his faith grow purer and stronger with each passing day.

Our bodies are just temporary dwellings for the Spirit of God.  They are given us as “temporary temples”, common and fragile vessels that hold a precious and eternal person (that is you), a treasure that will never fade, a life that is hidden with Christ, and in Christ, and He lives in us in these weak bodies.  We should now regard our bodies this way, as Christ’s, bought with His sacrifice, and now belonging to Him.

As we begin to have this mind that is in Christ Jesus, suddenly we begin to understand why the Spirit of God must have mastery over these vessels we temporarily inhabit.  Full of appetites, these bodies must be our slaves, and not the other way around. 

Like athletes, as Paul compares us to in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, we must purpose our bodies to be slaves to God, slaves to our own growing godliness in Christ.  We must not use these vessels for impurity, or selfish gratification.  Like heavenly athletes, pursuing the crown that never fades, we must discipline our bodies to do what they need to do to honor the Lord Jesus, and never link them with sexual immorality, indulge them with constant pleasures, or let them become our focus.  Our appetites come last.  Our heavenly pursuits, like a spiritual ‘Tour de France’ or an Olympic Gold Medal, must demand all of us.

How many of us admire Lance Armstrong?  We put men like him on pedestals, yet they do these things only for the fun, the fulfillment, the temporary status it affords them in this life.  Perhaps even the fame and the money lure some. 

But our calling is so much higher.  We, in Christ, have heavenly treasure beyond measure waiting for us, building up with each Christ-life step we take.  What riches we can have right here, letting go of our own agendas, and seeking only the good, the interests of, Christ and His Kingdom.

Only a few win the prize in this life.

Any man, no matter how insignificant or poor in the eyes of the world, can win the heavenly prize in Christ Jesus.  In fact, we can expect, when our body dies and we enter the City that was not built with hands, and we see those who’ve gone before us, to find many there we’ve never heard of—people who were completely unknown here on earth—yet who are honored and famous in heaven for the treasures they built, the unselfish, loving, Christ-empowered lives they lived in their temporary bodies on earth.

Let’s pursue our heavenly calling with the same zeal and dedication with which worldly athletes do—and more—as the Holy Spirit helps us discipline and set aside our bodies, minds, and hearts in the love of God and the power and purity of Christ.


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