1 Corinthians 9:24 Give It Your All

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. 1 Corinthians 9:24

Playing sports is something that a lot of people like to do in their spare time. Most people like to play some sport just for some leisurely fun every so often, but not on a regular basis or with any real seriousness to it.

Very few people are able to have the drive and put in the hard work and effort that professional sportsmen put in. They are content to just be an amateur.

Paul compares the believer’s life to that of a runner. He told the people to run the race in order to win the prize.

In every sport there is one person or team that gets the grand prize. Only one can be number one. In order to win the number one position, one must put in a lot of work and dedication to playing his best or improving to become the best.

As with playing sports, many people become a believer, but do nothing beyond that. They are content to stay right where they are.

Every believer ought to be running hard after God. He should strive to do his best and most for God all the time.

No matter how much a person knows about the bible, there is more to be learned. No matter how much a person prays, there are more prayers to be made. No matter how much a person flees from sin, there is more sin to flee from. No matter how much a person looks like Jesus, there is always room for improvement.

One should always strive to be the best for God in every area of his life, not out of pride, but out of love for God.

Examine your life and see how you are running the race to be more like Jesus and to do things for God. Have you allowed yourself to become lazy and not give your best? Or are you always striving to give your best to God in every area of your life?

Live your life for God in such a way as to be running for the grand prize that only one person can get. Do not allow yourself to be lazy and accept only second place. Every believer can qualify for the grand prize as he runs for it.

Today I pray that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will strive to live more like Jesus everyday; that God will give you strength as you run hard after Him; and that you will not be disqualified to gain the prize of eternal life when Jesus returns.

Isaiah 48:10 The Refining Process

Blacksmith fire

See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. Isaiah 48:10 

Refining something is working to make something better. It is a process of getting out everything impure and worthless to increase the value of something. This can be a slow and tedious process, that is repeated over and over, again and again, until the refining is complete.

Most people do not have what it takes to completely refine something to near perfection. They get satisfied with a few impurities, because it is too much work to purify it any more. They give up too early in the process and accept imperfection as good enough.

In this passage God tells the Israelites that He had refined them. He put them through a furnace of affliction to make them better, to refine them.

Affliction is rarely seen as something good or worthwhile. It is often seen as trouble and worthless. God sees it of high value. The purpose of affliction or trouble is to refine a person.

The refining in people is making them more like Jesus. It is the process of drawing them closer to God, to lean on and focus upon God more and more.

When things start going bad and there is great affliction, most people start to complain and get angry with God. It is hot and painful, with a severe burning. They do not want to go through it. They see absolutely no good or purpose in it.

The one who truly believes in God and is following Him with all of his heart will turn to God during the affliction. This turning to God is not to complain or get angry, but to seek His will in the situation. It is to learn from God in becoming more like Jesus.

Just as God worked in the lives of the Israelites to refine them, God will work in your life to refine you. He wants only the best for you and in you. He expects only the best from you and will strive to get it.

There will be times when God will put you in the furnace to burn out imperfections and sin. These can be imperfections of actions, thoughts, desires or words. Anything that goes against God in any way is an imperfection or sin, including not obeying what He tells you to do.

As you go through the furnace, learn from God and allow Him to change you. Become the image of Jesus to this world.

I pray today that you will know the salvation of Jesus; that you will seek God’s will while in a furnace; that God will give you His peace during times of affliction; and that you will grow to be more like Jesus every day.

Genesis 6:22 Follow The Instructions

 

Hispanic father and son building wooden airplane model

Noah did everything just as God commanded him. Genesis 6:22

Following instructions are not something that a lot of people like to do. People like to follow some of the instructions, as long as it is convenient, easy to do and makes sense.

Many fathers are known to toss out the instructions on how to put a new toy together for their child, because they believe that they can put it together with no help or guidance. In the end, they have a large mess and still need the instructions.

In the workplace there are many people who do not like to follow the instructions of the employer because they believe they know what is better and easier. They will try to cut corners, rather than follow the instructions, thinking that they will do a better, faster job to make look better. Yet, often, it creates a larger mess.

Instructions are given for a reason. There serve a purpose to have something done in a way that will work correctly with no problems. When putting a model airplane together, if all the instructions are not followed exactly, a part may not be able to be put in.

God had created the earth and mankind, and they had been living on the earth for some time. As a whole the people had turned their backs on God. At some point God decides to destroy everyone on the earth except Noah and his family. God tells Noah to build a large boat and gives him all the details. Noah does everything just as God commanded him. He followed all the instructions.

It may not have made any sense for Noah to build the boat. It had never flooded that much in history, people had never been destroyed before, it was difficult, and it was different. Yet, if Noah had not built it, he would have been killed in the flood.

As a believer, there will times God will give you some instructions. Sometimes it will be through some passage you read in the Bible, other times it will be through God speaking to you directly. Either way,  you need to follow those instructions.

Every instruction God gives you is in place to build you or someone else more like Jesus, or to build His kingdom. Each person needs to do his part in the right way.

Can God count on you to follow His instructions in building His kingdom?

I pray today that you will know what God wants you to do; that God will give you strength to do His work; that God will use you to build His kingdom; and that you will be faithful in following all of God’s instructions for you.