Monday, July 23, 2012

Running the Race

What a fun day I had on Sunday playing with babies in the nursery!  I serve in the nursery at our church weekly, but my usual job is registration--assisting parents with signing their kid(s) in and out.  I love that job because I get to see and talk to every child and every parent.  I get to learn their names and I look forward to seeing them each week.  But last week, I had an opportunity to serve in the baby room and I had so much fun!  It is amazing the things God can teach us through babies and children.

I was sitting in the middle of the floor with the babies and my co-worker and we were playing on the mats.  Somehow, one of the little girl's balls rolled all the way to the cabinets and she wanted it back.  She held out her arm several times and kind of let out a whine, as if to say "please go get the ball for me."  The other volunteer and I urged her to go get it herself.  She sat there for a minute or two weighing her options, then she decided to go for it.  However, she didn't make it.  She started crawling straight toward the ball until something out of the corner of her eye caught her attention.  She decided to veer off her path to the other toy, she looked at the toy, then crawled all the way back around to the spot where she started, completing a perfect circle.  When she got back to the starting point, she saw the ball and the entire process began again.  She cried out for the ball, we encouraged her to go get it, she started crawling toward it, got distracted, then ended up in the same spot.  She did that a total of three times, never making it to the ball she originally longed for.

I couldn't help but notice the similarities in my own walk with Christ.  When I keep my eyes on Jesus, my world is in the correct perspective.  I didn't say things in my life are perfect or that I don't suffer any trials, but I am focused on my Prize, on the One Who holds my life in His hands.  When obstacles arise, I am better equipped to handle them and it's easier for me to shrug off temptation, but if I allow my eyes to take a second look after taking the initial glance, it is much harder to get out of temptation's sticky grip.  Paul describes it this way in Philippians, chapter 3:  "Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.  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."  It is so important that we keep our eyes on Him always so that we don't have to send up a 911 prayer when we're in trouble.  If we pray to Him continually, then He is able to equip us for upcoming obstacles, we experience peace and we know that He is in control; we don't have to panic like His disciples did when Jesus fell asleep in their boat during a storm.  We can rest in Him and find peace in Him.

In Proverbs, Solomon heeds us to "hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life.  Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evil men.  Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn from it and go on your way" (Proverbs 4:13-15).  We don't have to have all the answers; we just have to keep our eyes on the One Who does so that, one day, we will reach our original goal of Jesus Christ.  We cannot allow Satan to use distractions to cause us to veer off the course our God has set before us.

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