I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. 13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it,[d] but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. Philippians 3:12-14 NIV
Monday when I was going to meet my mother at the doctor’s office to find out what the next step was in her treatment I noticed a young man jogging past our house. I couldn’t go because he was in front of the driveway. I thought to myself, “What is a kid doing jogging this early in the morning?” As he passed, I didn’t think much of it. At the end of the street there is a stop sign. As I stopped, the young man ran to a culvert that is along the road. I thought, “Umm hmm, he is about to sit down on that culvert! He is probably hot and worn out!” As I looked down the road for oncoming cars, the young man hit the pavement with his hands out in front of him, and he put his feet on the culvert. He began to do what I call “Army” push-ups. They were fluid and he had barely broken a sweat! I would have collapsed and been sending my husband for a Dr, Pepper to cool me off! As I turned down the road I thought, “What is all of that about?” I was expecting him to be sitting down! As I did the Lord spoke to me and said, “He is getting ready for two a days for football season. He is building his stamina to take strenuous exercise in the heat.”
As I was watching the Olympics with my husband I thought of that young man and the practice he had put in. I watched the weight lifters and God spoke to me again and said, “They have trained and prepared, some from a small child, for this day of testing. This is far from their first “rodeo”! None of these athletes got up one morning and said, “I think I’ll go today and be in the Olympics and win a gold medal!” They had to prepare, be coached, practice when their friends were sleeping late and going out and having fun. They chose the gold over the average. They stuck with their dream through adversity, injury, and people who told them to rethink their dream! They refused to give in to hardships. They PREPARED!
God does this with us. He knows the blessings that are down the road, but He knows the “hardships”, too! He knows we have to be coached, practice, and pass the smaller tests to win! He prepares us by calling us into hours and hours of prayer. He trains us to hear His voice! He brings us into relationship to practice His presence so when the hard times come, we are trained, prepared, and ready! James 5:16b NIV states “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” Earnest simply means “serious in intention, purpose, or effort; sincerely zealous”. When you are going for a prize you are filled with zeal about having it! You have a vision of it and of winning it! No hardship is too hard! No sacrifice is too great! You are so full of zeal, that whatever it takes, you are willing to “pay your dues”! When God tells you to pray for five to six hours a day, you can’t wait to get in your “quiet” place. Believe me, you will see the rewards and benefits of such dedication! It won’t be a strain to hear His voice, you will recognize it immediately! You won’t be afraid to speak publicly, you have been in His presence and you have the attributes of your Father which includes boldness! You will rightly divide the word of truth, because you will have the mind of Christ! You act like who “you hang with”! As our scripture says, you will POSSESS the prize of the high calling! When trouble calls, you will be ready to mow down the trouble instead of the trouble flattening you! You will have trained and are well prepared!
I love what David said when he faced Goliath. Little David lugged the armor of Saul until he had to shirk it! It was a weight that was keeping him from free movement to do what he needed to do to defeat Goliath! David BOLDLY declared to Saul he didn’t need anything but the NAME OF THE LORD!!
32 “Don’t worry about this Philistine,” David told Saul. “I’ll go fight him!”
33 “Don’t be ridiculous!” Saul replied. “There’s no way you can fight this Philistine and possibly win! You’re only a boy, and he’s been a man of war since his youth.”
34 But David persisted. “I have been taking care of my father’s sheep and goats,” he said. “When a lion or a bear comes to steal a lamb from the flock, 35 I go after it with a club and rescue the lamb from its mouth. If the animal turns on me, I catch it by the jaw and club it to death. 36 I have done this to both lions and bears, and I’ll do it to this pagan Philistine, too, for he has defied the armies of the living God! 37 The Lord who rescued me from the claws of the lion and the bear will rescue me from this Philistine!” 1 Samuel 17:32-37
What gave David such confidence and boldness?? He had practiced his faith IN God and he KNEW what God would enable him to do by His power! Why? Because he KNEW Him by having time in His presence!!
Go in power, my precious reader! Spend time in prayer and in listening! God will be there and He is ready to make a champion out of you! When hardships come, you will not be defeated because you will be trained, prepared and READY!!
Blessings to you!! See you next time!