*The following is a repost from 2010. (Sometimes I need to remind myself of what God shows me....and this is no exception.)
I often get a picture of the life or results I want, but I'm not really willing to put the time into making this happen.
If you read yesterday's blog you know I went to a race today determined
to "leave it all on the field" so to speak. Well, I didn't leave it ALL
on the field, but I almost left my breakfast at a couple of the hills.
I'd love to brag and say I ran a good race, but the truth is I did not. I
was passed by quite a few people, including one who was walking the
As a matter of fact, some of those who passed me I knew for a fact had
only been running a few months! I was so mad at myself and I looked to
God for some comfort. You know what I mean...I wanted to feel that
encouragement that comes when you remember a verse or two that helps
lift you up. Instead, I kept remembering the story of Cain and Abel from
Genesis 4. In case you don't have your Bible handy, here's the text: Abel
was a herdsman and Cain a farmer. 3-5 Time passed. Cain brought an
offering to God from the produce of his farm. Abel also brought an
offering, but from the firstborn animals of his herd, choice cuts of
meat. God liked Abel and his offering, but Cain and his offering didn't
get his approval. Cain lost his temper and went into a sulk. 6-7 God
spoke to Cain: "Why this tantrum? Why the sulking? If you do well, won't
you be accepted? And if you don't do well, sin is lying in wait for
you, ready to pounce; it's out to get you, you've got to master it."
Okay, I wanted an "It's okay, you did your best..." and what I got was a
"Don't go pouting because they worked harder than you!"
The truth is, I haven't been putting the work into my running like I
once did. Those who passed me, some had only just started running, but
they were faithfully training. They were prepared for the race. I simply
was not. I could try to find excuses, but it really boils down to the
fact that I just had not done the work necessary to do well in this
race. When they were training, I was complaining...too hot, too tired,
I find I do this in life as well. People who have been Christians less
time than me, or who are younger than me - it's tempting to sulk and cry
out that they seem to be walking more in faith than me...that they seem
to have an excitement about the things of God that has grown cold
inside me. I can almost hear God saying to me, "Why the sulking? If you
do well, won't you be accepted?"
I'm not saying anything about salvation by works by the way. What I'm
talking about is realizing that as long as I'm on this earth, I've got
to be training. It's easy to let my Bible study slide because of a heavy
work load. It's easy to not take the time for prayer and praise because
I'm tired. Yes, I can do that and I'll get pretty much the same kind of
result I got in today's race - pitiful. Or, I can prepare so that when
the races come, I am ready to run.
So now what? Well, I guess I can keep making excuses and finding reasons
NOT to train. I can quit running races....neither of these sound like
an option I really want. Instead, I think I'll take to heart the second
part of that verse: "Why the sulking? If
you do well, won't you be accepted? And if you don't do well, sin is
lying in wait for you, ready to pounce; it's out to get you, you've got
to master it."
I can keep making excuses and hope to get a "that's okay", or I can do
well and find the victory I'm looking for. I may have been looking for a
word of comfort, but I got an uncomfortable word....and that may make
the difference in the future.