The Race is Won – Week of June 26, 2023

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store 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 longed for his appearing.
2 Timothy 4 :7-8

I read a magazine article about a family of 5 that lived in a small, 2-bedroom house. At the announcement of their third child, many friends expected they would move into a larger space. But instead, they responded “God doesn’t promise that we will always be comfortable.” They decided to make the small space work for their family.

God promises many things. He promises to hear us when we pray. He promises to care for our physical needs, although perhaps not in the way or with the timing that we thought. He promises that Jesus died for our sins, and through Jesus’ death we will be in heaven after we die. He promises that we will be there with our believing family and friends and all who believed his Word and promises.

But God does not promise that we will always be comfortable. In fact, he tells us the opposite—that we will suffer in this world. (“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33) We will even feel like we are an outcast. There are many people that wish to hurt us because we love God and his Word. There are many people fighting against God and against us. There are people that hate us for our faith in God and our belief in his promises.

Sometimes we just want to shrink back from the world and hide from it. We feel exhausted, trampled, and broken. But God has already won the race for us! He fought sin and the devil, and he won. God will give our exhausted, trampled, broken body a new life, complete with a crown of righteousness, when we go to heaven.

And so we fight to keep God’s Word pure. We fight against the influences of the world and the sinful desires that tempt us. We look to God and his Word, the Bible, for strength. By immersing ourselves in the truth of his promises and surrounding ourselves with friends that can also remind us of the strength that we have through faith in Jesus, we continue our fight on this earth.

We fight as if we are in a race, the clock ticking, but with the comfort that Jesus has already won the victory for us. It’s like reading the last page in the book first—we already know how this is going to end! God promises that at the end of our earthly race, we will cross the finish line into heaven, enjoying the painless, sinless, joyful pleasures of heaven.

Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for giving us everything that we need to do our work for you here on earth. Help us to continue to fight for you by studying and teaching your Word and sharing it with others. Please provide teachers and pastors that can help us in our earthly race and invite more to share the joys of heaven with us. Amen.

A Question to Consider:
The persecution of Christians happened in New Testament times and continues to this day. How can you find peace and comfort even when you are feeling mistreated because of your faith?

Early Childhood Ministry Educator’s (ECME) Devotions are brought to you by WELS Commission on Lutheran Schools.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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