REWARDS - Run the Race, Look to Jesus
II Corinthians 5:10
We are looking at what God wants from everyone of us who live in the body He made for us. This body is His Temple and what we do with this temple will be the basis for our everlasting reward in His Presence.
The man that knew more about the Christian life than anyone else compared it to an agonizing endurance race. That same man – the Apostle Paul tells us that the main examination that we as believers will face is the question, “What did you do with your body?” Remember that I Corinthians 6.19-20 and II Corinthians 5:10 reminds us that:
Our body was made by God.
Our body was bought by Christ's sacrifice.
Our body will stand before Christ's Throne.
Our body is the basis of our judgment for rewards.
Rewards are given for pleasing God. Fruit is what is produced by God in my life as I please Him -- that will last forever.
How does God produce fruit in our lives? In John 15 we find the secret to fruit, rewards, fruitfulness and pleasing God in all we do. It is a two way street – He abides in us and we abide in Him.
God has outlined for us in His Word the four areas He watches, remembers and will someday test for fruitfulness. Do you know them? Are you cultivating these four areas each day for His Glory?
Fruit Consists of inviting Jesus into each area of my life and letting Him take it over. When Jesus is invited into each area what happens?
My time becomes where He “abides” (John 15);
my possessions are all evaluated by how to make God “rich” and not me (Luke 12);
my attitude becomes His personality (Galatians 5);
my body is not mine any more and I present” it to Him (Romans 12).
Now take some time with me looking at Hebrews 12:1-2. Notice what God wants me to choose to point my life towards Him, this is His focus for me. Remember the three areas He gives us to work on. DROP-RUN-LOOK
I must DROP whatever hinders my focus on Jesus; I must RUN the race God has marked for me; I must LOOK at Jesus as my example to follow.
- DROP whatever hinders my focus on Jesus. Lay aside, ditch, get rid of it. Quit, avoid, flee and forsake it.
- RUN the race God has marked for me. Persevere, stay at it, don’t grow weary of it, finish the course.
- LOOK at Jesus as my example to follow. Focus on Him, follow His example, keep Him in mind, see Him as the goal. Await Him at the end of your race, see Him giving you the prize, await His smile and well done.
Exhortation # 1: Drop Every Hindrance
- DROP ANY HINDRANCE: Let us also lay aside every encumbrance. (12:1b) An encumbrance is simply a bulk or mass of something. It is not necessarily bad in itself. Often it is something perfectly innocent and harmless. But it weighs us downs diverts our attention, saps our energy, dampens our enthusiasm for the things of God. We cannot win when we are carrying excess weight. When we ask about a certain habit or condition, “What’s wrong with that?” the answer often is, “Nothing in itself.” The problem is not in what the weight is but in what it does. It keeps us from running well and therefore from winning.
- DROP EVERY SIN: Let us also lay aside ... the sin which so easily entangles us. (12:1c) All around our planet God has made warning signs about the deadly nature of sin. They are terrifying if we think about them. One of the clearest are the species of fly catching plants. These plants offer alluring sweetness at the cost of death. Listen to the lesson of these plants: “Perhaps you have seen it yourself while lying on the grass by a sundew plant when a fly lights on one of its leaves to taste one of the glands that grow there. Instantly, three crimson-tipped, finger-like hairs bend over and touch the fly’s wings, holding it firm in a sticky grasp. The fly struggles mightily to get free, but the more it struggles, the more hopelessly it is coated with adhesive. Soon the fly relaxes, but to its fly-mind “things could be worse,” because it extends its tongue and feasts on the sundew’s sweetness while, it is held even more firmly by still more sticky tentacles. When the captive is entirely at the plant’s mercy, the edges of the leaf fold inward, forming a closed fist. Two hours later the fly is an empty sucked skin, and the hungry fist unfolds its delectable mouth for another easy entanglement. Nature has given us a terrifying allegory. But the most sobering thing we see here is that “the sin which so easily entangles” us refers to the specific sin(s) each of us, individually, is most likely to commit—a “besetting sin” as it is termed in the older translations. We each have characteristic sins that more easily entangle us than others. Some sins that tempt and degrade others hold little appeal for us—and vice versa. Sensuality may be the Achilles’ heel for many men, but not all. Another who has gained victory over such sin may regularly down jealousy’s deadly nectar, not realizing it is rotting his soul. Dishonesty may never tempt some souls, for guile simply has no appeal to them, but just cross them and you will feel Satan’s temper! What sin is it that so easily entangles you or me? Covetousness? Envy? Criticism? Laziness? Hatred? Lust? Unthankfulness? Pride? Whatever sin it is, it must be stripped off and left behind”.
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