31 October 2012

A 31 Day Grand Prix {day 31} - Walk with Him Wednesday ~ Pressing on towards that grand prix...

Ann has offered the Walk with Him Wednesday crowd an opportunity to write and share what the Lord is teaching them about..."The Practice of Joy…. What does it mean to choose Crazy Joy? How do we authentically walk through hard times?" I've also participated in 31 Days of Change, which has added its own twist as on Wednesdays I've considered how an unfadingly beautiful gentle and quiet spirit, they type of spirit God deems lovely - encourages this practice of authentic joy regardless of the circumstances or how hard the times might get.

"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear." I Peter 3.3-6
I wrote earlier about how this verse first stood out to me while reading in my French Bible because the equivalent expression for "great worth" in the French was "grand prix." I don't know about others reading in a second language, but when you see a phrase that is recognizable in your mother tongue, it is like someone highlighted it for you in brilliant neon green or pink! And that was actually what started me along this 31 day adventure with the above verses. As a total aside, one of the neatest things has been spending so much time meditating upon and just dipping my big toe in the the deep waters of those 103 words.

Today, however, to conclude this series, I'd like to show you what else God's Word says about that phrase "grand prix...," or prize.
  • Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. (1 Cor 9.24) -- Winning that prize is something I can work towards... and it isn't a given. I must work for it; I must conduct myself is a specific and diligent way to have the Lord hang that garland around my neck.
  • I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Phil 3.14) -- The prize spills out of the striving upward and moving towards the Lord.
  • ...let no one beguile you of your prize, delighting in humble-mindedness and in worship of the messengers, intruding into the things he hath not seen, being vainly puffed up by the mind of his flesh... (Col 2.18, Young's Literal Translation) -- Directing attention away from God towards other things, even those that seem to be good or heavenly in nature, hypnotizes and lures away, directing our focus from intentional pursuit of the grand prix.
  • Also if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules. (2 Tim 2.5) -- I've no hope of receiving the prize if I "do it my way."
  • ...in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing. (2 Tim 4.8) -- The prize is intrinsically linked to an insatiable desire for the indwelling influence and presence of the Holy One.
  • Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. (1 Cor 9.25) -- Gaining the prize involves self-control, but its worth it for the celebration and benefits are eternal.
  • Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. (1 Phil 3.12) -- This prize requires persistence and continuing effort... a never looking back or relent in the pursuit. It is a journey. The receipt of this prize is why Jesus first pursued me - He came after me just so I could "win" this grand prix.
  • but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. (1 Cor 9.27) -- I can disqualify myself by lacking in self-control and by hypocrisy, where my words and comportment  don't agree.
  • ...simply fixing our gaze upon Jesus, our Prince Leader in the faith, who will also award us the prize. He, for the sake of the joy which lay before Him, patiently endured the cross, looking with contempt upon its shame, and afterwards seated Himself-- where He still sits--at the right hand of the throne of God. (Heb 12.2, Weymouth New Testament) -- The prize requires continual movement towards the Lord. When I arrive, I wonder if He awards me with Himself?
  • For who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation? Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming? (1 Thess 2.19) -- Our prize also incorporates those like-minded others who press hard to reach Jesus.
  • He who, while he was in the form of God, did not esteem this as a prize, that he was the equal of God. (Phil 2.6, Aramaic Bible in Plain English) -- This prize Jesus laid aside for a time, so that I'd someday have the opportunity to receive it.
  • Thus says the LORD, He that remains in this city shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence: but he that goes forth to the Chaldeans shall live; for he shall have his life for a prize, and shall live. (Jer 38.2) -- Obedience and following the Lord are prerequisite, even when doing so insists on action that makes no sense to me or appears risky and dangerous. It is all about trust and movement towards God. It is also the only way to completely live and appreciate the gift of this life.
  • For I will surely deliver you, and you shall not fall by the sword, but your life shall be for a prize unto you: because you have put your trust in me, says the LORD. (Jer 39.18) -- Ummm... see my comment on the previous verse.
  • And seek you great things for yourself? seek them not: for, behold, I will bring disaster upon all flesh, says the LORD: but your life will I give unto you for a prize in all places where you go. (Jer 45.5) -- Seeking great things, prizes, for myself results in disaster from the Lord. He gives the prize... He is the prize.

Winning that Grand Prix, I'm beginning to think, means living a life filled with joy. Regardless of circumstances around and within, I am continually consumed by the presence of God through His Spirit. His Spirit gentles me,  teaches me, guides me, empowers me, both shows and enables me to trust... and I become less like the carnal me but more like the me He created me to be. I live more completely in unity with others who seek to continually move toward Him.

God places great value in this. It pleases Him.

When this is what He sees, He smiles and says, "Lovely!"

What will that be like???
...to hear the Heavenly Father say,

"My dear, the unfading beauty
of the gentle and quiet spirit 
you've allowed me to grow within you is 
simply exquisite." 

I can only imagine the joy.

What do you long to hear the Father say to you?


(Photos, taken by a member of our community here, are of Elsie Mae and one of her classmates @ Sahel's Pep Rally before the NUTS, the annual softball tournament in October.)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Stop in for a chat! I love to hear what you have to say ~


Related Posts with Thumbnails