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Thursday, December 27, 2007

a new race to run

This post was previously posted on my site....but with the new year around the corner and 'the race of a lifetime' still to run, it seemed timely to replay it.
Spiritual disciplines are not just something to THINK about, its something we NEED to DO our journey.
~Happy New Year to you all~
Running the RACE....a spiritual athlete

I can imagine them, the Ancient Christians, living in North Africa and the Middle East in the third century. As Paul Thigpen writes in an article from Discipleship Journal (sept./oct 2004) these men and women were "athletes of God." When I read the article years ago, I was intrigued and I have kept the magazine in a basket beside my bed ever since....What does it take to be a "spiritual athlete" in this day and age...I am already tired...another race to run sounds exhausting...but what I have come to learn that this type of discipline will help me "run the race marked out for me" (Heb. 12:1). It is not exhausting, it's exhilarating! It's not on piled on top of all of the other things on my "to do" list...these disciplines, when practiced, will help me "lay aside every weight....and let me run with perseverance the race that is set before me....discipline always seems painful rather than pleasant at the time but it yields the fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained." (Heb. 12:1-2, 11-13)That is the goal...righteousness and a race well run when it is all said and done...sounds like I need some discipline!

If I am going to run this race, and run it well, then just as an athlete, I MUST seek to be trained by the Master...Just as an athlete has to decide how best to prepare for a particular event, I too, must seek to prepare my SOUL...Without disciplining my spiritual self, I am in no way ready to endure the race called life...
That requires honesty, a prayer to the Holy Spirit for guidance, and a look at what area I need some "extra training" in...Paul Thigpen writes that "in ancient times the elder in the Christian community would have the brothers and sisters concentrate on one discipline for an entire year and IF they had mastered it by the year's end, they could move on to the next."

We live in such an "immediate gratification" society...we want results now and the thought of "discipline" and "long term commitments" can scare us...but we are in this
race for a lifetime, if we do not seek to evolve into better beings then we really are not running the race that Christ has laid before us....We only become better when we focus on that which needs the most work...for some it is in abstinence, others simplicity, some it's becoming disciplined in stillness, others prayer, and still others this season in my life, I am focusing on the discipline of meditation.

It's my training session with God...I am seeking a deeper, fuller, relationship with God...trying to understand HIS will and purpose in every area of my a word, wisdom...If I am going to run this race for HIM then I need this discipline...not that there aren't other areas that I need to work on too, this is just the one that speaks to my heart at the moment...Paul told the Romans "not to be conformed to this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of your minds, that you may discern the will of God - what is good, acceptable and perfect." (Romans 12:2)

I NEED this training, especially at this time in my journey...raising a family, being a Godly wife, homeschooling, ministering to others...I will NOT effectively be a "disciple of Christ" without training in the discipline of meditation....If I don't focus on what God's will is, sit and listen for HIS voice, meditate on HIS word, then I will not be the "athlete" that God needs me to be....

This is as Thigpen calls it a discipline of fortitude, without spiritual food, I won't have the energy to compete for the Lord....and if I can't run this race for HIM, then what am I running it for...

Consider then the disciplines that may be lacking in your life, or ones that may need a bit of intensive training to get back on the's not always easy, discipline never is, but our heavenly "personal trainer" is always ready; ready to guide us in this race, wanting more than we can imagine, victory for us at the end of the race....the race HE has laid before us...."

In Him,

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Blogger The Preacher's Wife said...

i've been taken lately with 2 cor. 4.16 "therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day."

As Paul's flesh wasted both physically and spiritually, his inner man was being renewed, energized, expanded to the point of bursting forth from the frail tent that held him. How I long for passion big enough to accomplish this kind of existence. And yes, my friend. It takes some major, in-it-for-the-long-haul training.

Excellent post that is helping get me ready for my resolutions...:)

much love,


December 26, 2007 at 8:28 PM  
Blogger Ann said...

Great post! I learned a lot about these passages last year when I trained for and ran a mini-marathon.

December 26, 2007 at 11:09 PM  
Blogger Denise said...

Such wonderful passages my friend, bless you.

December 27, 2007 at 12:06 AM  
Blogger Angela said...

Thank you for sharing this post with me today! I needed to hear this more than you know! Perfect, just perfect! I give all of the praise to the Master!

Blessings to you!
Angie xoxo

December 27, 2007 at 7:21 AM  
Blogger Darnelle said...

Wow! God has something going on. The devotion tomorrow is about developing spiritual disciplines also. I think He's trying to tell us something.
Awesome thoughts and perfect timing as I TRY to set realistic, purposeful goals for the new year that will honor Him, and fulfill His will, instead of my own. Thank you!

December 27, 2007 at 4:00 PM  
Blogger Living Beyond said...

AMEN!!!! I'm so glad we get to run this race together - you bless me!

January 2, 2008 at 12:51 PM  
Blogger Tiffany said...

Thank you for your encouraging words. I am working on the disciplines of Bible study and scripture memorization this year. I want to get beyond the surface to reveal what God really wants to say to me this year.

January 3, 2008 at 8:15 AM  

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