Running the Race

Stand On It | Devotion #4: Running the Race
James Clouse

I have a confession to make. Growing up in the youth group at the River Church was an amazing journey. I gave my life to the Lord in the Summer of 1995 after hearing Pastor Jim speak on salvation. This was new to my ears. I had never heard of salvation before or about having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. So when it came time to pray, and we bowed our heads and closed our eyes, I peeked. Why? Well, there was this cute girl who was putting her hand up to pray, so I did, too. Yes, I was one of those kids. I have even called my Youth Pastor from my middle school and high school years to apologize for being one of those kids because as a Student Pastor now I understand his pain. But when it came down to the time to talk and pray with a leader, I meant every word of what I said to God. 

I went on from there to live a life for Christ. I served in AWANA, went to the camps, joined the leadership group, and did all the things I thought was right. One day on a missions trip in Mexico my 10th-grade year, I was sitting in the van on the way back after a hard day and told God that whatever I did in life I would do it for Him. I dedicated my life to Him right there in the van. Was this salvation? No, I had already done that. But the Christian life is not just a one thing, one prayer deal. It is an ongoing race or journey.  

1 Corinthians 9:24-27 says, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.”

I understood then in that van that I did not want to run my life aimlessly. I knew that my life was God’s and that I wanted Him to use me in any way He saw fit. I stand on that foundation that Christ continues to work on me every single day. 

Church, how is Christ working on you today? Has Christ shown you through this book that while you may be a Christian, you are not running the race but rather standing and watching? How is God telling you to condition your soul more to serve Him better?

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