I CAN still remember our boys’ first athletics carnival.
Unfortunately, I’d missed seeing them compete in many of the events, but I did make it in time to see the 200m sprint.
The gun went off and 20 preps started tearing around the oval. But when they got to the halfway point almost all of them stopped running.
They’d reached the place where the 100m race had finished and they thought they were done! The result was we all started screaming that they should keep going.
We can get to this point in the year and feel the same way as those prep kids.
It feels like Christmas is right around the corner and the year is pretty much done and dusted.
But of course, there’s still a whole month to go.
We don’t just feel this way at this time, we can all get to points in life where we stop striving for whatever reason.
It might be in our learning, or loving, or working or in just about any area of life. It’s easy to become complacent.
A bit like the parents shouting at their kids to keep running, the apostle Paul urges us to keep pressing on to the finish line (Phil. 3:12-14).
When we put our faith in Jesus Christ, Paul says that we’re destined for heaven.
But no matter how far we’ve come, there’s still a distance to the finish line and so we need to keep pressing on.
That’s not to say that we’re striving to earn God’s grace or earn the heavenly prize.
We have the assurance of being accepted by God when we trust in Jesus.
But when we receive the gift of God’s grace, we’re called to live our lives as response to his love. The image Paul uses is of the runner close to the finish with their chest puffed out to be the first across the line.
This is the determination that Paul has in knowing Christ and he encourages us to have the same determination.
We’re not to become complacent and let life take us where it will.
But rather, knowing our final goal – being with God, our lives should be working towards this goal – becoming Christ like.
In our relationships, our responses to issues, our dealings with society, our jobs, in our families, in our use of time or money or ability, in all aspects of daily life we need to continue to work out our relationship with God and how we can become more Christ like.
So dear friends, there are still 31 days left in the year — may you keep pressing on to the end.
And may you push on not just to the end of this year, but keep striving to grow in love and godliness, in faith and in hope, pressing on toward the goal of the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.
Christ Church Anglican