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Wednesday: The Victor’s Crown — 8 Comments

  1. A few years ago I visited a cousin of mine who lives in Western Australia. He has a wheat farm (about 5000 acres from memory) and for most of his life, he has grown and harvested wheat. Growing wheat in Western Australia is a tricky business. They can produce some of the best high-protein wheat in Australia. But the weather is capricious and you can grow a full crop of wheat only to find that it does not yield. My cousin spoke of the silent harvest.

    When you drive a harvester in a field of wheat and there is a good crop, over the noise of all the machinery, you can hear the sound of the hardened grain hitting the metal chutes and you can tell by its intensity how good the crop is. The farmer's worst fear is a silent harvest. No grains of wheat hitting against the chutes. The crop is useless and is only good for ploughing back into the ground.

    When the spiritual harvester drives through the paddock of our experience, is the great farmer going to hear the reassuring sound of grain hitting the chutes?

  2. Combining Ellen G. White’s statement that “at every stage of development, our life may be perfect” with the title of this lesson, "The Victor's Crown" leads me to consider the athletes of the Olympic games.

    Olympians train sequentially and coaches help them to meet goals at each step of training. Those with a strong coach-athlete relationship are more likely to feel secure in exploring their capabilities as an athlete, pushing their physical and mental boundaries, taking risks to improve performance, and being confident in their ability to give 100% effort. In behind-the-scenes video clips we can see that good coaches act almost as surrogate parents, praising their athletes’ efforts, emphasizing unwavering belief in them, and taking an interest in their personal lives. Athletes also depend on the data given them by their coaches about their growth - looking at their own performance in computerized simulations and graphs to improve with each practice session and competition. Successful athletes push past their limitations constantly, incrementally improving their performance by training harder or making subtle lifestyle changes.

    Now if we translate all of this to the Christian life, we have the best Coach available. The Holy Spirit patiently teaches us as we are ready...

    I still have much to tell you, but you cannot yet bear to hear it. However, when the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth. John 16:12-13

    God in Jesus gives us confidence to give 100% effort because Jesus already ran the race and won for us! We can depend on the feedback He gives us, correcting and encouraging our performance. As we listen to our Coach day by day, training harder by dedicating ever more of our thoughts and time and activity to Him, He assures us that we are making the subtle lifestyle changes He asks of us, and through His power we can meet His goals for us.

    God wants us all to be athletes for Him. Our churches are not to be like an Olympic stadium on game day, with a few busy people in need of rest, surrounded by a lot of people watching and in need of exercise. (Heard this one and just had to tuck it in here.)

    One time an athlete had trouble in an Olympic marathon event and came in long after everyone else had finished. When asked why he kept going, knowing he certainly would not medal, he answered, "My country didn't send me to the Olympic games to begin a race, but to finish a race." Perseverance in running the race is what God asks of us, using the strength He supplies. How perfect our race turns out we can leave to His coaching plan.

  3. Having read the lesson makes me think of what Paul said in 2.Timothy 4:7.

    „I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.“

    We can say, from a perspective of faith, he‘s evaluating by looking back at previous stages of his life and work. I find it essential to do the same and ask whether I‘ve been fighting a good fight by putting on the full armor of God and running the race well.

    Paul knew what his goal was. The race pathway, in my opinion, is the narrow road which God has set for me to walk on obediently.
    By looking back, I don‘t mean being backwards focused, as we read in Luke 9:62,

    „And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.“

    but remaining in a self-assessment modus, in order not to fall away from God's abundant grace.

  4. "...Sanctification is the work of a lifetime!... As our opportunities multiply, our experience will enlarge, and our knowledge increase..."

    The only way to be at the level of the statement "at every stage of development, our life may be perfect” is to be connected to Jesus. Jesus is perfect, not we! We can also be perfect, but only through Him! In Him, there is no condemnation! And in Him we grow, in spirit and truth, to the stage we decide, because He doesn't force His love, He just reveals as much as we can carry! To carry more of God's Love it is necessary to unload the selfish weights.

  5. Our Creator Father’s plan is to return His creation to its original state through creating a new heaven and a new earth. If we want to be part of the life of this new creation, we are given the opportunity to overcome the influences of this fallen world by faith in the Word of God our Father; by faith being ready, ‘perfect’, at any time should our Father call us home – Rev.2:7.

    Man’s original parents found themselves confronted by temptation. Will we, this time, resist the temptation to choose to go after our own ways, choosing instead to hide in/cover our life by the righteousness of our Savior Jesus Christ; living life according to the Will of God, and so win the crown of everlasting life? Rev.2:11

    This world is ever demanding of our attention. Only by adjusting our focus by refusing to make the glory of this life the focus of our attention, will we overcome its attraction. Choosing the Glory of God as the purpose of our life will overcome the adversary’s deceptions and demands.

    During our life’s journey, the Holy Spirit’s manna sustains us until the end. Then the time comes to live the new life - “and I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written, which no one knows except him who receives it.” Rev.2:17.


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