May 28 Home Communicator – Reflecting on ‘Running the Race’
The school year is almost complete. What a wonderful year it has been! Every day was filled with learning in many areas – academically, socially, emotionally, and spiritually. In addition, we have been focusing on what it means and what it takes to run the race of faith.
We started the school year recognizing that God is calling us to be ‘all in’ this race; choosing to join the race and not be bystanders. We learned that this race is not about winning and losing; the goal is to strive to be like Jesus. In our race of faith, we try to live our lives in such a way that we close the gap between us and Jesus. So every day we ask ourselves – “How can I be more like Jesus today than I was yesterday?” We have reminded each other about the importance of training for this race to help us be more like Jesus. This training includes – reading God’s Word; time in prayer and talking with God; devotions; talking with others about God; spending time with other believers/church worship; asking questions, and service to others.
So how did you do?
While the school year is near completion, we know that our race of faith is not. We continue to run this race. To help us, God has given us markers of progress in our race. Paul talks about these markers in the book of Philippians. The first marker Paul gives us is UNITY. If we are on the right track, if we are looking more and more like Jesus, then we will notice that we are unified as the body of Christ. That we would have the same attitude as Jesus as a people who serve God and others. Philippians 2:1-5 says, “Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus”
The second marker Paul gives us in Philippians is VALUING THE WORLD LESS. Those who are running a good race will notice that their own comfort, their own glory, their own success, their possessions, how others perceive them…all these earthly values fade in comparison to Jesus. As we become more like Jesus we value the things of God more than earthly things. Philippians 3:17-20 says,“Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do. For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.”
The final marker Paul gives us is LOOKING MORE LIKE CHRIST. Maybe this seems obvious, but the first marker was more about how we strive together on the race. This one has more to do with us as individuals and whether or not people get glimpses of Jesus when they listen to our words and see our actions. Philippians 2:5-11 describes what it means to look like Christ. It says, “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Continue to run the good race with your eyes looking straight ahead; with your gaze fixed directly on Him; giving careful thought to the paths for your feet; and be steadfast in all your ways.
Mary Broene, MS Principal and Katie VanTil, Nurturing Faith Coordinator