1/. <<a contest>>
How are you training for the race of life?
sin and emotional baggage that slows or prevents our progress. Besides blatant sin these hindrances can be soul ties and ungodly relationships, destructive habits, ancestral sin passed on down through our family line, or pollution by possessing objects, including those relating to past sinful lifestyles and souvenirs, that have something of the enemy about them and that give the devil a legal right to harass (Eph 4:27). In a running race a sprint is where the emphasis is on speed but a marathon calls for stamina and focuses on the progress made, while in relation to our spiritual journey it is important also to retain the territory gained.
In an earthly race, only one runner wins against the other competitors. However, in the Christian 'race' everyone who pays the price of vigilant training for the cause of Christ and remains faithful to the finish line can win against the physical and spiritual struggles that stand in the way of reaching the prize. As it will require faith, stamina, commitment, and discipline in order to live faithfully am I dedicated to set aside anything that might hinder me reaching, not a temporary earthy prize but the eternal reward (1 Cor 9:24,25)? Its important to keep our eyes on Jesus, our role model, who by contemplating the reward of having multitudes of people in heaven redeemed by His blood was enabled to endure the high cost to secure our salvation (Heb 12:1-3). Having a clear impression of the goal God has waiting for us helps us look beyond the present discomfort.
2/. <<ethnic group; racial discrimination>>
There is only one human race, yet many expressions, with all humans created in the image of God (Gen 1:26,27). God loved us, rebellious people, so much that Jesus came to die in our place, consequently there will be people from every tribe, language, people and nation in heaven (Jn 3:16; Rev 5:9, 7:9).
In OT times there were two major ‘people groups’: Jews and Gentiles who didn’t much care for each other. Jesus came primarily to minister to the Jewish people but responded to all those who had a need and exercised faith in Him with His Kingdoms principles working for anyone who employed them (Mt 5:5-13, 15:21-28; Lk 7:1-10; Jn 4:4-44). By His death He broke down this dividing wall of hostility, declaring “there is neither Jew nor Gentile…for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:28; Eph 2:14; Col 3:11). After His death the gospel was also presented to the Gentiles (non-Jewish people) as the early church learnt that Christianity was to be shared with all people (Act 8:37,38, 10:28,34,35, 15:7-9). Jesus Himself said to “make disciples of all nations...to go into the entire world...to be witnesses to the ends of the earth” and Paul became the apostle who predominately reached out to the non-Jews (Mt 28:19; Mk 16:15; Act 1:8; Rom 11:13).
Rom 2:11; Eph 6:9). Christianity is cross-cultural, for all humanity are sinners and all people have the right to hear the gospel presented to them in a way they can comprehend. The parable of the Good Samaritan teaches us to reach out to anyone in
How well do I relate to those of another race?
need and not to discriminate against those who are of another race (Lk 10:30-37). While all Christians are one in Christ, nationality and cultural differences are important and make us distinctively unique. Nevertheless, we should avoid racial preferences and prejudices, as discrimination is the reason for a lot of the hatred in the world today. Racism is a manifestation of a sinful human inclination to degrade other members of humanity who are also made in God’s image and loved by Him just as dearly as we are. Anti-Semitism is specific hostility and discrimination against the Jews.