Run The Race // Homecoming, Part 1 [Devo]

Run The Race

Homecoming, Part 1
When I was in high school, I ran cross country. I stand at 5 feet 11 inches, and my long legs gave me an advantage, especially on the downhills, where my stride could reach its full potential. Training for these 3.1 mile races meant daily, grueling, long-distance runs that would stretch three to four times the distance of the race in order to build endurance and perseverance. I was a fast runner, generally finishing in the front-running pack. Ironically, I hated running.

In the middle of the race, my lungs would ache, my legs and arms were heavy, wanting to recoil and rest — all I wanted to do was give up. Cross country is a sport that requires mental toughness and the ability to see past the struggle of the immediate to gain the prize. In the midst of the pain, I would picture the finish line, envisioning the triumph and the relief that crossing that line would allow. And it would work… I knew that I was in this race and a vital part of the team, that I had a role to fill and a job to do while I was running, but that there was an end coming, and it held sweet relief.

This past Sunday, Pastor Tim introduced “Homecoming,” which is a collection of talks focused on heaven. In this first talk, he asked the question, “Why is there a need for heaven?”

As Tim put it, “The simple answer is that heaven is important because this world is broken and under a curse because of sin.” Even creation itself is longing to be made new.

In Romans 8:19-23, we read what Paul had to say about what was revealed to him by the Holy Spirit:
“For the creation eagerly waits with anticipation for God’s sons to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to futility — not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it — in the hope that the creation itself will also be set free from the bondage of corruption into the glorious freedom of God’s children. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together with labor pains until now. And not only that, but we ourselves who have the Spirit as the firstfruits — we also groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for adoption, the redemption of our bodies."

The finish line we are longing for will be even better than we can imagine.

When I read this, it makes me think about the pain and hardship we experience now. It feels like we are in the middle of a race, and everything hurts. To keep going is hard. But, the finish line that we are longing for will be even better than what we can imagine. 1 Peter 1:3-5 says:
“Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  According to His great mercy,  He has given us a new birth  into a living hope  through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and into an inheritance that is imperishable, uncorrupted, and unfading, kept in heaven for you. You are being protected by God’s power  through faith for a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.”
As Paul so aptly describes in Hebrews 12, let us run our race with endurance, keeping our eyes on Jesus. If you don’t know Christ, I hope this series stirs you to seek Him — it’s only through Jesus that we can have a future beyond this life. If you already have a relationship with Christ, I want to encourage you to keep going — to strain forward for what lies ahead
(Philippians 3:12-14).
Author: Brandy Gibson, Creative Director
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