Running to Win

 

 

What motivates you as a Christian?  Or are you running the race?  Are you saved and that’s all there is to the Christian life?  Are you an ambassador for Christ as though God were making an appeal through you (us)? (2 Corinthians 5:20)

Have you ever considered what it will be like when we meet Him face to face one day? Will He say “Well done” or will we shrink back and be ashamed?

It has been said that our motivation for obedience is the prize/ reward that we are promised in God’s Word.  Now I am not a big competitor!!  I would rather let you have the prize than compete.

God has promised in His Word rewards for those who overcome trials in this world.  There are at least 5 crowns to be given at the judgment for believers.

The first crown in this series in the Incorruptible Crown.  It is the victor’s crown or the runners’ crown.  This is the reward to those who have been faithful in service.   It is for those who have persevered and run the race set before them.

These are the faithful ones who have “made it their ambition to be pleasing to Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:9 NAS)  The important thing is not the reward itself, but the joy of pleasing Christ and honoring Him. (Wiersbe, W: Bible Exposition Commentary. 1989. Victor)

I Corinthians 9:24 “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.

25 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.”

In the Olympics in Greece, any athlete who won the race received a prize, a crown. The crown was actually a wreath made out of celery leaves. It only lasted for a few hours and then faded away. In comparison, Paul said Christians are seeking to get a crown that will last “forever.” Now, what is this crown all about? Athletes who won in the Olympics received a crown which entitled them to other ongoing rewards when they got home. Sometimes they would be given a new home, and their children’s education would be provided free. Sometimes, a home would be built for the athlete’s parents, and for the rest of his life and his family’s lives, none of them would pay taxes. So the crown symbolized continuing honors and rewards that continued for the rest of the athlete’s life.

I believe this is also true about the crowns God will give. Yes, we can throw our crowns at Christ’s feet, but the privileges they represent will continue to be ours even then, for all eternity.

For those who faithfully endure persecution, Jesus makes it clear, “Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven” (Luke 6:23). Paul states it plainly, “But each will receive his own reward according to his own labor” (1 Cor 3:8).  The author of Hebrews even reminds us that Moses was motivated by rewards, “He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward” (Heb 11:26). (https://michaeljkruger.com/why-do-modern-christians-rarely-talk-about-rewards-in-heaven/)

We fail to understand that we will be judged on the basis of the life we lived after coming to Christ.  Our works or service is not the basis of our salvation.  Our works will be judged by our motivations.

There will be loss when we meet Jesus and our works are judged.  There will be shame that we did not finish the race well. Many have said, Oh I just want to get into heaven.  I’ll take a little shack in the back after all once we are there everyone will receive the same and we will all sing and praise and be happy to be there with Jesus and all who have gone on before!

We may very well be surprised!  It may be that God had wanted us to have more privileges

And responsibilities in the new kingdom but we shrunk back and would not run in this life seeking the prize of the high calling.

In an interview with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, the following story is told:

I’m reminded of that story about the Rajah, that wealthy man who was there in India. And if I may say, it’s a wonderful legend. He was riding along in a beautiful chariot and there was a beggar standing along the road with a bowl of rice, hoping to receive something. And the Rajah got off the chariot and went to the beggar and said, “Beggar, give me some of your rice!”

The beggar was incensed. “How could he ask me for something?” So very gingerly and angrily the beggar gave the wealthy man a grain of rice.

And the Rajah said, “Give me more of your rice!” And the beggar gave him a second grain of rice; and then a third. No more.

The Rajah got into his beautiful chariot and rode away. The beggar was absolutely furious! In anger, he looks at the grains of rice that were still in his bowl and he noticed that something glittered. He looked more carefully. It was a piece of gold just the size of a grain of rice. And then he looked even more carefully and found just two more. For every grain of rice, a grain of gold.

You know, that’s the way we’re going to find it at the Judgment Seat of Jesus Christ. Our rice for His gold. Our lives and our witness for His blessing and the honor of belonging to Him throughout all of eternity. Let’s say today like the beggar did: “Oh! Oh! If I had only given him all of my rice!!” Well, we have the opportunity today to give to Christ all that we are and we will be rewarded.

Oh my friends!  Let us be about the Father’s business while we still can.  There is much He desires for us.  There is a crown for the victor’s.  The overcomers who set aside the treasures of this world for the sake of Christ.  Our reward is pleasing our Father God and ruling and reigning with Him in His kingdom.

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