October 9

Today's Bible Reading
            I Kings 12
            Philippians 3
            Ezekiel 42
            Psalms 94
            “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.”  (Philippians 3:12)         ·
            Today, we are going to the stadium; not a football or baseball stadium, but to participate in the race of life. In this third chapter of Philippians, we are given three marvelous analogies of the Christian life. Paul first shares with us about the accountant- and he says, “I count all things lost for the Excellency of Christ Jesus.” He then introduces us to the athlete-who is in a race; then, later on in the chapter, he refers to himself as an alien, a foreigner, whose citizenship is in Heaven. Paul was very interested in athletics and we will focus on that analogy.
           Most people today are stressfully involved in the ratrace. Even if they win they are still a rat. The greatest need in the Christian life is for spiritual growth. This life for Christ is not a 100-yard dash; nor is it a sprint, but it is a distance race. A great deal of skill, determination, and concentration are necessary if we are going to run the race as we ought to run it. Well, it is time to start the race. Paul is looking at a time when he was apprehended by the Lord. This is not very profound, but it is true. You cannot run the race until you get in the race. There are many people trying to live the Christian life without ever making that first time commitment to Jesus that requires repentance and faith.
            Then Paul deals with running the race. He gives us three essentials if we are going to run the race properly. Hespeaks of concentrationonthepresent. Paul says, ''This one thing I do.'' The Bible has a lot to say about this one thing. When Jesus was speaking to the rich young ruler in Mark 10:21, He said, ''One thing you lack." You cannot win the race of life with a divided mind.  You must be committed to this one thing, of a faith relationship with Jesus Christ. Many of God's people are concerned about too many secondary and significant things while the one thing is needful. Do you know the difference between the amateur and the professional? The amateur does his thing in spurts - occasionally. It is a hobby, an avocation for him. For the professional, it is his life's work. We have too many amateur Christians and too few full-time Christians.
            Paul also encourages us to presstowardthefuture. Notice his words, reaching and press. These words mean to stretch every nerve, straining every muscle. It is the picture of a runner, his arms clawing the air, his lungs gulping in great chunks of oxygen, his feet pounding the track, his heart pounding in his breast to reach the goal. It is the same picture as in verse 6, and speaks of a man who is zealous for Jesus. Then Paul takes us further down the track and speaks of finishing the race. He tells us there is a goal to reach. Some believers look at the Christian life as a relay race when they hand the baton off to someone else. No, God wants you in the race all the way to the goal. We are in this Christian life for theduration, and he tells us there is a reward, a prize, that we will receive.  (II Timothy 4:7-8) I've always admired those fellows who perhaps were out of their league, but once they entered the race, they finished it. Even if they were last, they finished the race.  Paul tells us that we must lay aside the past and move on toward the goal.
            Sometimes they were half a day late, but they finished the race. In the modern church, we have too many fans and too few followers.  It is time for believers to get in the game and pay the price for victory.  In Switzerland, in the cemetery of a little church at the foot of a mountain, is the grave of a little English boy. On thetombstone, it is inscribed, He died climbing. Let's run and win the race.
            In spite of the tremendous increase in technology as a tool for communication in this electronic age, book production is increasing faster than ever before, and books remain a key tool for communication. Our ministry sends copies of our books throughout the world. Pray for God to give anointing to each one of them to bring people to Christ.