Tuesday, June 16, 2015

A Heart to Run the Race

     How exciting it was to see another thoroughbred win the Triple Crown of racing.  I have lived to see three in my lifetime:  Secretariat, Affirm and now American Pharaoh.  One of the news articles I read about the most recent winner was that the skill of the jockey kept the horse at an even pace so he would last throughout the race.  Then, when he needed speed, he had the reserve to finish the race well.
     My grandfather also followed this type of strategy when he drove his harness horses to victory.  He raised, trained and drove harness horses for many years while I was growing up so I had the opportunity to not only be around horses but observe many of his winning races.  The horse has to have a heart to perform, but the skill of the jockey or sulky driver is the key to victory.  In fact, the same is true for the Christian.
One of my grandfather's champion horses
     When we commit our lives to Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, God does some serious surgery on us removing our heart of stone and giving us a heart for Him.  This is a transplant which radically changes our perspective on life.  We are no longer in bondage to sin.  Instead, we desire to obey the Lord and learn more about Him.  However, we need to be guided, taught, instructed, convicted, and nurtured if we are to reach our full potential.  This is why the blessing of the Holy Spirit is such a gift from the Father to us as believers.  He fulfills all the roles just described, and acts much like a wise jockey who guides us along the path of life until we cross the finish line.  Without the comfort and strength of the Holy Spirit, we would find ourselves running off on many different bunny trails never going anywhere with purpose.
     In His final discourse with His disciples, Jesus told them that He would send them a "helper":  "And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him.  You know Him for He dwells with you and will be in you" (John 14:16-17).  Jesus also tells the disciples:  "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you" (John 14:26).  We learn, in these verses, that the Holy Spirit is our helper, the Spirit of truth, He dwells within us, He teaches us and brings to our remembrance all that the Lord has spoken.  Like a skilled jockey, the Holy Spirit is there to provide for us  all that we need holding us back when we need correction and letting us run at just the right moment.  How gracious is our Lord for His blessed provision!
     What we must remember is that we are never by ourselves as we make our way in this world.  When we read verses like:  "13Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:13-14), we are encouraged to know that we are not running the race of life alone.   The Holy Spirit is prodding, nudging and guiding us every step of the way.
     American Pharaoh has won the triple crown, but in Christ we are more than conquerors who can lay claim to the crown of life with the help of the blessed Holy Spirit.  Thank God often for this gift  which will usher us into the winner's circle of heaven.  Selah!                                                                                        

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