HomeWord - June 22, 2012

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Winning a Championship
This devotional was written by Jim Liebelt

Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. —Philippians 3:13-14

In professional sports, most teams end their seasons without reaching the ultimate goal of winning a championship. Take Major League Baseball as an example. Each spring, all 30 teams look forward with anticipation to the possibility of having a good year, making the playoffs come October, and if all goes well, winning the World Series. Still, each year only one team wins the championship. Regardless of how well the other teams have played throughout the season, they don’t win the prize.

In 2004, the Boston Red Sox won the World Series, their first championship in 86 years. Imagine a team competing for over 80 years without ever winning the prize. For this team, the championship was the first in their lifetime. For decades, Red Sox players played the game for a time and then passed the torch to new players who continued the hunt for the elusive championship season. In fact, most baseball players never win a championship during their careers.

It seems to me that the Christian life isn’t all that different. We desire to live faithful and fruitful lives as Christ-followers, and our day-to-day experiences are filled with peaks and valleys. In some seasons of life, we experience humble successes and in other seasons, flamboyant failures. We live with the tension of being both saints and sinners.

Still, we are called to press on with perseverance; looking forward to the prize that one day awaits us. We add “new players” to our “team” and we constantly pass the torch of faith along to younger generations of Christ-followers who carry forward God’s work in the world.

Some Christians, I suppose, are fortunate to experience something that others might consider a “championship season” during their lifetime. Yet for most of us, we experience something that more closely looks like a Red Sox experience. For decades (if God gives us health), we faithfully live the Christian life without a sense of some crowning victory. But don’t worry. In reality, the victory is coming! We too will experience, after a lifetime of following Christ, the ultimate victory and celebration. We will win the prize.

GOING DEEPER:

1. Do you ever get frustrated at your lack of progress in the Christian life? If so, how might this devotional change your perspective?

2. In what ways should our “eternal prize” motivate us to be persistent and faithful Christ-followers in this life?

FURTHER READING:

1 Corinthians 9:24-27Hebrews 12:1  
 

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