I have a fear. A real fear. I have a fear that I will not be able to run the race. The race of life before God. I am a sinner with all my issues but I want to love God and I want to obey Christ living the life he has for me. I have seen so many people fail and fall. People when I was a child that I looked up too. People that as an adult I liked their books or their message in media. The Ravi Zacharias issue brings up this fear in a very acute way. I did not see this coming and it dredges up memories from my past fear that I would not be able to run the race.
7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7 ESV
I fear things I don’t understand. How can a person who serves and loves God fall so far from God’s standards? I am not talking about a one-time issue but a pattern of behavior that is outside of God’s grace? King David sinned as great as anyone can sin when he stole another man’s wife and had that man killed. Our hearts are evil but David returned to God and repented because of the relationship David and God shared. The Ravi issue demonstrates an ongoing pattern of planning and preparation for sin. It is stunning as I try to understand and that fear of my own failures clouds my mind.
5 At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night, and God said, “Ask what I shall give you.” 1 Kings 3:5 ESV
When I was a young man, I read the account of King Solomon and how he was given everything by God. Tom Brady’s wins are nothing compared to the wining that Solomon was given. Yet at the end of his life Solomon did not run the race well. This account of Solomon’s life and Solomon’s self-reliance scares me. I am afraid of this for myself. Solomon asked for wisdom when God would have given him anything. Asking for wisdom is even a credit to Solomon but what good is wisdom without a relationship with Christ the maker of Heaven and Earth? My prayer then and my prayer now is that God, Father, Savior, Jesus… I pray for the grace and mercy to run the race with endurance to the end. An end that is in your arms with you. That is the goal. An everlasting relationship with my maker? Is can’t be about stuff. Fame. Success. Power. Money. Land. All of it will one day be gone. That is temporary. Jesus is eternal.
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. … 3 And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: 6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. 1 John 2:1-6 ESV
So, I look to the examples of those who have finished the race. I take my fear a very real fear and a justified fear to the truth that John speaks and I come away with reminders.
When I sin I have an advocate in Jesus Christ. Jesus loves me and died for me. Even if like King David I travel far from God and turn my back to him all hope is not lost. I will make mistakes but Jesus will be my advocate and I pray that at that moment I turn to him as I once did. Jesus can make right what I made wrong.
for the righteous falls seven times and rises again Proverbs 24:11a ESV
My life must continually be turned away from the comfort of this world to the eternal perspective. If my life does not reflect the commandments of Jesus then I do not know him or love him. Do I love him enough to alter my lifestyle and my quest for money in this temporary world?
“[Jesus speaking] If you love me, you will keep my commandments. John 14:15 ESV
Finally, I must abide in Jesus. Every day I must turn to him. Every moment I must seek what Jesus wants. My very being must always be about Christ. Christ only Always. Whoever abides in Jesus will walk in the ways of Jesus.
4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:4-5 ESV