Running the Race of Faith
Let’s face it — running is hard.
Now, there are a few people among us who strangely love the idea of running for pleasure. But that’s just not normal. The only times I run are when I’m late for something or if I’m about to get soaked by the rain going into Kroger. Running is difficult. It takes strength and endurance. It takes patience and hard work. It takes a lot of commitment and resolve.
The same is true of the Christian life.
The apostle Paul often compares our lives as Christians to running a race. Christ has done a work in us to save us, but we must continue in the faith. We must fight hard. We must run with endurance. In Colossians 1:23, Paul tells us that only those who continue in the faith will be saved in the end. You see, Jesus is our only hope of salvation. And it’s only by faith in Jesus that we can be saved. Only those who continue in this faith will stand in the presence of God. If you turn away from faith in Jesus — you are turning from your only hope of salvation.
Now, wait a minute. I thought once you were saved you were always saved. Isn’t salvation a work of God? Is Paul saying that we can lose our salvation? Is he saying it’s up to us whether or not we are saved? No. Paul knows salvation is a work of God. Remember back in Colossians 1:13-14. God delivered us from the domain of darkness. God transferred us to the kingdom of Jesus. God forgave our sins.
Salvation is not something we do. It is a miraculous work of God.
So, Paul is not saying that it’s up to us to get to heaven. But Paul is warning us from drifting away from Jesus. One of the main reasons Paul wrote his letter to the Colossians was to warn them.Some people were teaching that Jesus isn’t enough. You need better knowledge. Better religion. Better traditions. Better spiritual experiences. And they were buying it. But Paul won't have it.
If you drift away from Jesus into to knowledge, if you drift away from Jesus into a religion, if you drift away from Jesus into traditions, you are drifting away from your only hope. To turn away from Jesus is to turn away from your only hope of salvation. And so Paul is calling them, and us, to press on in faith. He uses a metaphor of a building. Our faith is to be stable and steadfast. Our faith is to be like the foundation of a building. Our faith is to be so solid that we would never shift away from our hope in Christ.
So how do we do that? How can we continue in the faith? Here are 3 simple ways.
1. Press Into Community
Friends, the drift away from Jesus often starts with drifting away from his people. The church is the body of Christ. And if you want to cling to Christ, then cling to his people. When your marriage is struggling press into community. When you’re kids are struggling press into community. When you graduate Program Living, press in. When you feel like your love for Jesus is almost gone, press into community.
Cling to Christ, by clinging to the people of Christ.
2. Put Sin to Death
Another way to continue in the faith is to put sin to death. You see, either you are killing sin or it is killing you.
If you allow sin in your life, it’s going to weaken your faith. It’s going to lure you away from honoring Christ. If you feel like your sin is no big deal, you don’t understand the cross. Sin is such a big deal to God, that he was willing to crush his Son on the cross to get rid of it. If that’s how much God hates our sin, then we should hate it too. Hate your sin. And kill it.
Continue in the faith by putting sin to death in your life.
3. Treasure Jesus
If you want to continue in the faith, then you need to see Jesus as your greatest treasure. You need to believe that Jesus is better. He is enough for you. He can give you the joy you long for. He can give you the peace you want. He can give you the love you need. If we don’t treasure Jesus, we will treasure something. We were made for worship.
We will either worship Jesus or something else. But only Jesus is worthy of our worship. Jesus alone should be our treasure.
Continue in the faith by treasuring Jesus.
It can be so easy to drift from Jesus. It can be as easy as pulling away from community. It can be as easy as letting sin live in our lives. It can be as easy as give our hearts to something other than Jesus. And before we know it — we are drifting from the only hope that saves.
Brothers and sisters, let’s press on in the faith. Let’s keep our eyes on the cross of Christ. And let’s never drift away from the one who loves us and gave himself up for us.