Going For the Gold...En Crown
The phrase is heard everywhere these days - "Go for the Gold" We are thrilled to view the competition in China. Some of us have longed to actually "be participating". We have watched as coaches coach and athletes run and the crowd cheers.
You know, I sometimes think that pastors are "coaches" and "athletes" are Christian church members running in a race called life. Paul does write in 1 Cor. 9:24-25. "Are you not aware that those who run in the stadium all run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may win the prize. Now every athlete in the games practices complete self-discipline. They therefore do so to win a crown that quickly fades away; we do so to win crowns that never fades. I therefore so run as one who knows his goal."
Did you know that during the time of Paul there were various game sites, Olympic being the most famous? Paul is placing the Christian race in contrast to the Olympic games. He says, "Do you wish to win a prize at the Olympic games? Consider the required preparations.
The crown awarded at the Olympian games was made of the wild olive. They were corruptible, in that they began to wither as soon as they were separated from the tree or taken out of the ground.
Interesting thing is that as spiritual coaches echo the words of Paul regarding running, two facts separate the physical from the spiritual. One, while we all run, we all can be a winner crossing the finish line, instead of just one as Paul mentions. Second, we all have been selected to be on the team - that in itself separates us from the world. Wow, you are on the "American" team - or "your country's team" as many are reading these lines around the world. Jesus is leading "His team" and holding the Christian flag. He is ahead and the head of the team Church.
Jesus has called us - that is what the word "church" means….."the called out".
But here is where the metal is to the pedal, or the rubber meets the road, or the feet hits the track. Paul speaks of the necessity of training. There has to be training - call it a trial, call it adversity, call it whatever you want, but there has to be that which causes friction or heat in our lives so we can come forth as gold. I remind you that gold is processed through fire.
I want to show you how the fiery experiences of life are to our benefit. I can hear you breathing sarcastically - sure, yeah - but it is true.
The guide book for going for the gold…en crown speaks of it this way. So, with the frozen mind set of some let me heat up your thinking from these two burners.
"I will refine them like silver and test them like gold." Zechariah 13:9
1 Peter 1:6,7, "In this you will greatly rejoice, though you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so your faith of greater worth than gold which perishes even refined by fire - may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed."
May I paint a picture in your mind? Picture a refiner of metal sitting behind a crucible. In it is the metal and underneath is the fire. Picture him increasing the fire when He sees necessary and watching the process of his work. Don't kid yourself that God doesn't know the value of the refiner's fire.
The old refiner never and I repeat never, leaves the crucible but sits downs beside it, lest one degree of heat mar the metal.
He skims off the dross and continues such until he can see his reflection. As Christians we are to mirror Jesus. It takes fiery trials and afflictions often to do such.
Did Jesus not say, "I will never leave you?" So, in the midst of a fiery experience in your life. When things are so bad you wonder if you will ever make it through, remember the trying of your faith is more precious than gold and remember that He is there watching. Remember also, that you will come forth as having reached for the gold…en crown.
God, in the name of Jesus, I lift up to you this reader.
As a Christian thank you for their participation in the Christian race.
I ask that you especially favor them through the hurdle of a negative situation
be in the marital, financial, employment, relationship or health.
Thank you for your encouraging presence and the extra push for the ribbon of victory.
They can and indeed will stand on your platform
in front of the Christian flag holding up the gold...en crown.
Lord, bless in Jesus' name.
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