I know these verses are well known and have probably been the focus of many other Seeds, but there is something about them that really stirs me on, especially when I am feeling weary. Maybe it’s the reminder that our journey with the Lord and our spiritual life is a race. It is something that we progress in, even if it seems slow and a struggle at the time. Just as when running an actual race, as long as we are in the race, we are still moving forward.
There is a scene in the Christmas Special of the Christian series ‘The Chosen’ that reminds me of this verse and, to be honest, always makes me emotional whenever I watch it! The shepherds are rushing to get to Bethlehem after the angels appeared to them. One of the shepherds has a disability and needs to use a crutch. Throughout the episode he is mocked and rejected by the other shepherds and the rabbi at the temple.
In the scene, this shepherd is running over the hills to see Jesus and he throws his crutch down as he runs. We see in the build up to this moment that he is longing to know more about the coming of the Messiah and to gain understanding of Scripture. The thing that speaks to me about this is that the shepherd throws down the thing that is slowing him down because he is desperate to meet Jesus. And when he gets to the stable, he is the only shepherd to hold baby Jesus.
I know that the story of this character is just artistic licence, but it’s the principle that is so powerful. Although he was marginalised and mocked, he had a pure heart in seeking God and wanted to grow spiritually, despite the opposition, and when the opportunity came for him to meet Jesus, he ran to Him. He threw aside the thing that hindered him from running to Him and when he met Jesus, he was rewarded in a way none of the other shepherds were because of his heart. He was determined to meet Jesus. May this me true for you and me too!
It might be something for each of us to just chew over or maybe it is a question that you already know the answer to – “Lord what is it in my life that hinders me running to You? What do I need to throw off to keep running this race?” It would be a lot easier if it was always something physical that we could ‘throw off’, but it can be the seemingly small things, like feeling too comfortable and becoming passive spiritually or holding a grudge that entangles us. Maybe it is something a bit more obvious like a habitual sin or an unhealthy dependence on something or someone else, instead of depending on the Lord.
We run the race by focussing on Jesus. Isaiah 41:10 says, ‘I will strengthen you and help you: I will uphold you’. We all need something to lean on. Lean on Jesus. He promises to help and uphold us as we run the race of life. Sometimes we can only take baby steps forward, other times we feel as if we can sprint. Just keep going. (Even as I am writing this, I am aware of how much I need this reminder!) Keep looking to Jesus and He will help you. You are not running this race alone.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You that You are with me in this race. Please teach me to fix my eyes on You, Lord, to recognise and bring to You the things in my life that are hindering my relationship with You. Help me to rest in the assurance that You are my strength and my sustainer. I can’t run the race through my own striving, but only by fixing my eyes on You, Jesus. Please help me to know You more in a deeper way. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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