The Relay RaceSeptember 15, 2022
The Narrow GateSeptember 28, 2022
For the video teaching on this, please link to our 721 Ministries Videos on Vimeo.
“My life is one big obstacle course, with me being the chief obstacle.” — Jack Parr
The Holy Spirit prompted the apostle Paul to state emphatically,
“I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection (i.e. His Holy Spirit power) …”¹
I, too, am compelled to know Jesus more deeply, primarily because he is worthy of such a pursuit – do not miss that. And, he promised this is the path to eternal life … now (and do not miss that, either – now!):
“Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”²
How am I going to start living Heaven on earth now? Is this possible? Jesus said it is! So how am I going to achieve this? I am going to “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles,” and I am going to “run with perseverance the race marked out for me. I am going to fix my eyes on Jesus …”³
This race I am running is not a single-event race, it is a relay race.4 To run my leg of the race as I would want, I must be focused and purposeful and intentional. I want to fix my eyes on Jesus, so he can fix my eyes on what is most important. But how to “throw off everything that hinders?” And what might those be?
The short and simple answer: Distractions. Distractions and our ridiculous busyness.
Recall Satan’s “3 D’s”: Destroy – Distract – Discourage5
If he can keep you out of a saving relationship with Jesus, then he has destroyed your soul, which is his primary goal. He will do this by distracting you and discouraging you. But if he loses that battle because you have surrendered your life to Jesus, then he will seek to destroy the A+ Life to the full6 Jesus wants for you.
Again, he will do this by distracting you and discouraging you.
Our culture is full of distractions – some good, mostly C-, and some bad. Most of your distractions are likely good or C-, but not certainly not the best. Not even close. (I know some of you have pornography problems, drinking, gambling, smoking, hard-hearted … whatever.) But it is those good-but-nowhere-close-to-the-best distractions that will ultimately diminish his life to the full that Jesus said he came for you to experience – through him.
Jesus sums it up in his parable of the four soils like this:
The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth – choke the word, making it unfruitful … but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches , and pleasures, and they do not mature.7
They are unfruitful and they do not mature. Know anyone like this?
It would be helpful for you to take a few minutes and write down those not-the-best distractions that are clogging up your life, and slowing you down on your relay race. Then, ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life, by ruthlessly eliminating all the not-the-best busy activities that are detouring you from running your race with your eyes fixed on Jesus.
Today will you purpose to eliminate just one?
May you run your leg of the race with purpose and focus and intention, so that when you hand off your baton you will be able to say,
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.8
- Philippians 3:10 (Added)
- John 17:3
- Hebrews 12:1-2
- See last week’s Putting Green: “The Relay Race” puttinggreenblog.com
- Search Ministries
- John 10:10
- Matthew 13:22 and Luke 8:14
- 2 Timothy 4:7-8