Links Daily Devotional

The Big Race

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace. (Acts 20:24, NIV)

Bad rounds of golf can sure stick in your head, especially if what made them bad was one ugly hole or one loose swing. Maybe you’ve even lain in bed at the end of a bad golf day and been unable to get that disastrous hole out of your mind. Oh, it’s so hard not to feel like a loser!

Surely the apostle Paul had nights where his own sleep was disturbed by reflections on the past, when he had led the eradication of followers of The Way, that Jewish sect that declared Jesus to be the promised Messiah. He had even held the coats for the rock-throwers at the stoning of Stephen. Paul was a murderer, “the chief of sinners” in his own words.

But Paul did not let these hours of self-judgment linger. He knew this about his sin: God was bigger than all the trouble he had caused, all the persecution he had delivered.

Paul was a new man. And it is important to recognize that he was not alone in this. He declared all those who have believed Jesus to be new in the Savior as well.

When we are new, we don’t spend time wallowing in what is old. We don’t focus on our illness. No, we look at what has made us well, what has given us life, and we fix our new eyes on that.

For the follower of Jesus, this wellness comes from Jesus in the form of his mercy, grace, and forgiveness. If I can claim these, why would I also hang on to sin and sorrow? You don’t finish the big race of life by looking over your shoulder. You look ahead! You focus on the finish line, relying on the one who is there to help you cross it!

Our race is tied up in Jesus’ race. God the Father sent his only Son into the world to die for you and me. By his shed blood, our sins are cleansed once and for all, as long as we take up the race with him. His deliverance was an act of ultimate love; our faithful response is an act of utter gratitude.

Maybe you are still thinking about whether you should enter this race. I encourage you to give Jesus a special look this season, for at Easter it is easy to find many who are talking openly about what Jesus did by his death and resurrection. Walk into a church, ask a committed friend, take half an hour and read the closing chapters of the Gospel of Luke and the Gospel of John. There you will find Jesus, reaching out to you with those open arms of grace and mercy.

And if you are already there, safe in his salvation, be ready to talk this season, to share with others “the good news of God’s grace.” This is how we finish the race well, by bringing others across the finish line with us. Think of it this way: a happy Easter is made happier when new believers are celebrating the Lord with us!

Dereck Wong
April 9, 2014
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