“Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you.” Galatians 5:7-8
Running the Christian race becomes difficult with the weights of the world on your shoulders.
Throughout Scripture, many analogies are made for the Christian life. Sometimes it’s called a battle while other times it is referred to as a race. Both analogies are applicable as often we face spiritual enemies whom we must fight with God’s strength. But today, let’s look at the Christian life as a race, a journey we all take in life. Consider the words of English Puritan pastor Richard Baxter on the subject. He speaks of life in general as a race in his following words:
It is a most lamentable thing to see how most people spend their time and their energy for trifles, while God is cast aside. He who is all seems to them as nothing, and that which is nothing seems to them as good as all. It is lamentable indeed, knowing that God has set mankind in such a race where heaven or hell is their certain end, that they should sit down and loiter, or run after the childish toys of the world, forgetting the prize they should run for. Were it but possible for one of us to see this business as the all-seeing God does, and see what most men and women in the world are interested in and what they are doing every day, it would be the saddest sight imaginable. Oh, how we should marvel at their madness and lament their self-delusion! If God had never told them what they were sent into the world to do, or what was before them in another world, then there would have been some excuse. But it is His sealed word, and they profess to believe it.
While the follies Pastor Baxter pointed out in the 1600s certainly have changed for us today, his words ring true as we consider the follies and vain pursuits that so often distract and hinder us from pursuing God’s will for our lives.
In Galatians 5, Paul alludes to the analogy of a race when he asks the Galatians what hindered their running in the race. He points out that while they ran well in their Christian journey, something had hindered their obedience to God.
The Galatians hindrance was false teachers whom Paul called, “not of him that calleth you.” God was not distracting them from His will. He wasn’t pointing them in a different direction. Yet many of these believers had slowed or stopped in their Christian race.
In your Christian race, things will distract or seek to hinder you. The devil wants nothing more than for you to be so caught in the world’s follies or trifles that you slow your racing-your fervent obedience of God’s Word. Often, the follies aren’t sinful in nature, but soon take the place of God in believers’ lives.
Remember when you started your Christian race? That initial starting line saw you running full-steam ahead, ready to obey anything God asked and pursue only Him. Yet as time goes by and the race wears on, distractions can slow the tempo of the race, and keep you from fully obeying God.
Is something hindering your race right now? Do you have extra baggage that is slowing you down? God desires that you would obey Him as passionately as the day you were first saved. Take a few minutes to evaluate your race. If some side pursuit has taken your focus off God, lay aside that burden and continue running with your eyes fixed on Christ. Don’t allow anything to keep you from fully obeying God’s will.