"...And the Lord--who is the Spirit--makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image." (2 Cor 3:18)

With consistent cross-bearing (Ah, yet another C), which is all about saying yes to all God-honoring acts, and no to all selfish desires, I repeat that with the indwelling Spirit empowerment, a Christian slowly but steadily becomes conformed to the image of Christ.

Here I would like to proclaim as to what constituted the complete purpose of the final Adam's (Read "Jesus" See 1 Cor 15:45) first coming. Figuratively put, if "searching out and saving the lost" is step one of His 2-step grand design, then step two is all about "reforming" in us the pristine, God-like image the first Adam was created with (see Genesis 1:27), had lost due to the fall. If by Jesus' stripes we are healed (see Isaiah 53:5), does it not follow that by His marred image/disfigurement that the crucifixion brought upon him (see Isaiah 52:14), He set the process rolling for restoring the original God-like image in us?
 
Long before the Apostle Paul penned his dying declaration (see 2 Tim 4:7) on completing the course, a look at his approach to the "Christian race of life" would seem to be the very definition of the Olympics motto: "Citius, Altius, Fortius" -- Faster, Higher and Stronger...Here goes...

"I don't mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us"
(Phillpians 3:12-14)

Hmmm...didn't somebody say the Christian life is like riding a bicycle? If you do not keep pedalling forward, you are bound to fall down!

By the way, the words enshrined in the Olympic's motto were not penned by the founding Father of the Modern Olympic movement, Baron de Coubertin, but rather by a Pastor friend of his: Thanks Pastor Henri Martin Didon! As a Pastor myself, am I not proud of this fact!

Oh yes the Marathon calls for a long haul. If there is one virtue in Christ which stands tall, it is His infinite patience borne out of His infinite love. Truth be told, if one is called Christ-like, it simply means that he is as patient and long-suffering as Christ. This takes us to yet another Pauline personal account under the next sub-heading...

E-Endurance

Reading of 2 Cor 11:24-27 gives one in some measure an idea of the physical hardships borne by Apostle Paul in his "race" for Christ's Glory. Add to this the "thorn in his flesh" that refused to go away (see 2 Cor 12:1-10), and the picture emerges with no shades of grey of a marathon runner battling exhaustion, chugging along one weary mile after the other. His flesh is crying "halt", but his spirit is spurring on. Let's get this straight: The Master did not sugar-coat the demands of walking in the straight and the narrow, and neither did Paul (See Acts 14:22). Yes, the Christian life is not only tough; but impossible, if you try to go it alone: "'Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says the Lord" (Zech 4:6).

The Christian life, simply put, is as easy or tough as letting Christ live in and through us; but justifiably to the Apostle Paul, the greatest "spiritual warrior" (opps sorry! The "runner") should belong the last word: "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." (Gal 2:20)

The moot point now is this: with stalwarts like him watching us from the Heavenly stands (see Heb 12:1), how are we running our race? We supply the will, the Lord supplies the power. Chug on Christian...Chug on well!

Prayer: Lord Jesus, Thou art the vine and we are the branches, we find our strength to live a God-honoring life in Thee alone. Strengthen us more, we beseech Thee. Amen.

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries


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