Post details: Beating The Air, or On To Victory?

12/04/15

Permalink 08:18:00 am, Step(s): 07 Purification, 529 words   English (US)

Beating The Air, or On To Victory?

When I watched the 2004 Disney movie "Miracle", I couldn't help but think of how the apostle Paul likened Christian growth to the running of a race.

"Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? Even so run, that ye may attain. And every man that striveth in the games is temperate in all things. Now they do it to receive a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, as not uncertainly; so fight I, as not beating the air:" (1 Cor 9:24-26 )

The movie was about how the 1980 USA Olympic hockey team came from behind to win the gold at the winter Olympic games, after about 20 years of Soviet dominance. When the team was first formed there was discontent and fighting among the players, and the coach seemed like a cruel taskmaster. But, as time went on, the compassion, wisdom, and love of the coach became apparent. And as the team members became committed to following the instruction of the coach, they became as family, working as one for the common good of the of the team and the USA.

As we come out of denial (step 1), accept God as our "coach" (step 2-3), and start working as a team (step 3), we begin to realize that God is not the cruel taskmaster that we once thought. But rather, we discover that He is full of compassion, wisdom, and love. We begin to see that the way of the cross (denial of self), while painful, is the only way to grow and excel spiritually. It's the only way to actually "win" the "race".

Now, I can say I'm on the "team" (a Christian) and I can say all the right things to make people think I am, but am I really...? I may even try to "run the race" of life on my own, and in my own strength. But when I do, I make a lot of mistakes and hinder the overall progress of Christ's "team". As Paul put it, I run as one that beats the air. It's like Jesus said, "...without me, you can do nothing" (John 15:5 ).

But when I co-operate with God, when I listen to His "still small voice" (1 Kings 19:12 ) saying "this is the way, walk ye in it" (Is 30:21 ), and turn my will over to Him (step 3) by choosing to obey, then He works in me to "will and to do of his good pleasure." (Philippians 2:13 ) Ellen White put it this way:

" To make God's grace our own, we must act our part. His grace is given to work in us to will and to do, but never as a substitute for our effort. As the Lord co-operated with Daniel and his fellows, so He will co-operate with all who strive to do His will. And by the impartation of His Spirit He will strengthen every true purpose, every noble resolution" {PK 486-487} "The heavenly intelligences will work with the human agent who seeks with determined faith that perfection of character which will reach out to perfection in action. To everyone engaged in this work Christ says, I am at your right hand to help you. As the will of man co-operates with the will of God, it becomes omnipotent. Whatever is to be done at His command may be accomplished in His strength. All His biddings are enablings." {COL 332-333}

So, when I am weak (all the time) I find my strength in the Lord, as I trust His "coaching" and obey His biddings.

"I can do all things in him that strengtheneth me." (Philippians 4:13 ) "And he hath said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my power is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Wherefore I take pleasure in weaknesses, in injuries, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong." (2 Cor 12:9-10 )

"Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings." (Step 7)

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