Together We Take the High Road

Why are so many believers dropping out of the faith race?

This morning I awoke in my brother-n-law’s house to find the Tour de Spain on television. I’ve never liked watching those races because you cannot simply watch it. You experience it, and it transports you to a very uncomfortable place.

The first few seconds are dedicated to your brain telling you, you are watching a race. Next a light bulb realization – man is one with the machine. Then your legs begin to twitch. You can almost feel the cyclists’ quadriceps screaming. You sit further on the edge of your seat, and your tailbone sympathetically winces. The television camera zooms into the competitor’s faces for a close up, and your lips involuntarily purse and blow, draw in and exhale. The camera spans out to reveal the treacherous mountain road spiraling up ahead. Your eyes celebrate the splendor while your heart plummets over some ravine, because the incline is too steep. They can’t possibly make it. You see a spectator jump in close, and raise his fist to the sky as he cheers the cyclists onward. You instinctively know the crowds’ applause is what the riders need to hear in order to finish. The lap counter continues to test their limits, and yours, with only one point eight kilometers to go. You can’t take it anymore. One rider begins to weave towards the sidelines. You gasp, and close your eyes. Your hand reaches for the remote to change the channel, and find something less intense.

I don’t know how many times I’ve read Paul say “I’ve fought the good fight, I have finished the race” (2 Timothy 4:7), but today, watching the Tour de Spain – I got it. People are dropping out of the faith race because they’ve forgotten how incredibly hard the race is. Don’t misunderstand me please. There is joy in the race, but it certainly is not without sacrifice.

To say we believe is one thing, but to understand we must be one with our master, is another thing entirely. Jesus is our guide (the rider if you will), and we are the instruments in His hands. Together we take the high road.

A Christ follower enters the race with the understanding training is mandatory, training which parallels that of a professional athlete.

Teamwork is essential for success. No one is to go it alone. We are to run the race as one united mass or body. Not only does the team keep each other accountable, we build each other up, and cheer one another across the finish line, whether that line comes before or after death.

The rigorous regiments of professional athletes are difficult to fathom, especially if you are not one of them. The act of believing in and following Jesus Christ is a mystery, which can only be fully realized with the help of the Holy Spirit, and the truth He so wisely opens up to us through God’s Word, and yes, analogies through the Tour de Spain Cycling Race.

If you are a believer – you are in the race. The clock is ticking. The eternal count down has commenced. And although you might be tempted to change the channel – don’t. The reward is great.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us (Hebrews 12:1).”

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One Person’s Call is Our Opportunity!

I’m learning so much about faith.  How when someone in the Family of God is called to believe and act on that belief, it affects the entire family.  One person’s call means we are all called to do something in relation to it; pray, walk together, adjust, give.  Their sacrifice, must be our sacrifice in some way as well.  Sometimes it means we are to give up something.  Giving doesn’t always mean money.  One person’s call to serve is our opportunity to hunker down and re-evaluate our walk, to revisit issues like relationship, forgiveness, or unconditional love.  Sometimes it means being still and quiet and not rushing to the rescue so God can move!  Faith is all about action, but sometimes that action looks like we’re stalled, but waiting on God for permission to take His next, strategic leap!

Sometimes we think that following Christ means we’ve done something to deserve the call, earned it in someway (negating His mercy), then when we’re called to follow through with that call and find ourselves short of strength or resources, we then conclude that we’ve done something wrong or we haven’t heard God correctly (negating His grace).  Remember God’s ways are not our ways.  There are some things we don’t understand, can’t figure out, cannot control and that makes our selfish pride crazy!

We humans are all about conditions, power, position, measuring – God is not.  This morning, Christ’s sacrifice hit me on another level.  He gave his very life knowing that many would reject His gift.  He put no conditions on that gift, gave it for free.  He also knew some would embrace what His sacrifice means, only for a time, then turn away, but He still drug His cross up that hill and allowed His own creations to pound nails in his wrists.  He died!  He, the Son of God, laid down His life for everyone!

If you’re called to do something for God, do it for life!  Not just today, not just tomorrow – but for life!  You’ve accepted his gift, you’ve answered the call, answer that call everyday!

As Christians we think “responsibility”, as followers of Christ, we must think “throw caution to the wind” because as believers we cannot trust in our thinking at all.  Nobody likes to hear that because it’s an insult to our desire to feel and believe we’re smart.  Without God – we’re nothing.  I remember praying for my children’s safety and hearing God say “why?”, when we’re called to serve Him with reckless abandonment. Nobody likes those words because they sound unintellectual, and irresponsible.  I’m sure the disciples families and community thought the same when they left their boat with nothing but a robe and a pair of sandals,  and never looked back.

But we back up often, to apologize and try to sound theologically, or is it politically correct?  Following Christ is about being made new.  Starting all over with a “spirit” mind.  Hold onto what you were taught while growing up, with reverence and respect, but hold onto it lightly.  Jesus comes along and does the sorting and ultimately it is His leading and His Word that you must hang onto – tightly.

We’re in this together!