“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.”
– 1 Corinthians 9:24,25
Yesterday, we talked about how stifling it is to meet the demands of a religion that requires us to give something up without understanding why. This is the reason it’s so important to let Jesus be our vision. If I’m a runner, there are certain foods I’m not going to eat since I want to move faster. My motivation for speed gives me the will to abstain, because winning the race is more important than satisfying my appetite. The same is true spiritually. I love the story told by a pastor friend of mine whose spiritual director happened to be a nun. Though he was not Catholic, he decided he was going to give something up for Lent, and he shared it with her. Hearing him declare this, she grabbed his arm and lovingly said, “Why would you give something up?” A bit confused, he looked at her as she continued, “In Lent, we don’t give something up, we attain something greater by getting rid of what’s in the way.” What a difference in perspective! Clearly, this woman of God knew that the only way to be delivered from self-destructive or less-than-edifying behaviors is to focus on something greater. This is because, when we connect with God’s vision for the future, we’re inspired to do whatever it takes to keep moving ahead in order to get to the goal and win the prize.
My friend, Jesus is your joy and crown! Everything you do or don’t do in your life is for the sake of His glory, and since He is a loving Heavenly Father, the things He asks of you will always bring you to His very best for your future. While following the course He’s ordained may not feel good to your flesh, the prize on which you’ve set your sight will bring greater power, joy, and peace than any pleasure or distraction strewn along the path. As you make Him your vision, you will do more in His strength than you ever thought possible!
Jesus, be my vision whenever I’m prompted to make changes in my life. Remind me that giving something up enables me to attain something greater.
What is God asking you to give up? What greater thing might surrendering it lead to?
If you’re unable to attend your local church or need some additional weekly inspiration, be sure to tune into Hour of Power every Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. PT on TBN or watch online at hourofpower.org/episode.