Sunday, September 8, 2013

God's Grace

Lately, the verses that have been making an impact on me have all contained the word grace.  Every Wednesday morning, the girls cross country team meets at Chick-fil-a before school to do a Bible study.  This week I shared a couple verses and quotes that stood out to me from Ryan Hall's book Running with Joy.  He did an interview with Running Times magazine that was mostly centered on his faith.  When asked if he is as good a runner as he is because he trains harder or because he is more talented, he responded with saying "I am what I am because of the grace of God" which reminded me of a verse I had found during my personal Bible study just the day before.  1 Corinthians 15:10 says, "But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace to me was not without effect.  No, I worked harder than all of them--yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me."  This is one of my new favorites because I get asked questions all the time about how I run so fast, do so well in school, have so much joy, and many other things.  I can't explain much, except that I do what I do because God has blessed me with the opportunities.

Another thing that has helped keep me humble and positive through all sorts of circumstances is 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 and what Ryan said about that.  "But He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong."  Ryan used just the part until weakness, but I continued on when I was reading, and it just gets better.  Like he said in the interview, "I may not always win or do something great, but I will always have enough strength to accomplish the purpose God has called me to race for."  Even more than that, I can be glad I have weaknesses because that is where God shines through.  He makes up for everything I lack.  When I fail, I still have every reason to praise Him.  His grace lifts me up so that others can see Him at work.  I can be joyful, even when the going gets tough, because His power can be made known even more.

I have also felt lately that time is not passing me by, but running me over.  I feel constantly rushed and always have a list of things to do.  I too often get distracted doing things that aren't necessary, but I feel like I "have" to do them.   Then before I know it, it's over half an hour after I wanted to be in bed.  Looking back through old Instagram pictures for a photo contest at church, I found a verse I had forgotten about, but that I had come to love last season.  Acts 20:24 says, "However, I consider my lift worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me--the task of testifying to the good news of God's grace."  Again, more about grace!  This time it's not only talking about the grace I receive, but sharing that grace to others.  This can apply to my life in several ways.  When I am literally racing for cross country, it hurts.  I want to be finished and then feel great.  My goal is to finish that race with all I have, but then also to continue to let God's light shine through me the entire day to all the people who will see me.  Also, in the race of life, I want to be able to finish strong, so that when I see Jesus, He will be proud that I, His servant, worked for His glory.  God's grace gives us so much to live for and hope and joy for every moment.  I want everyone to have the opportunity to know this feeling.  This is what really has worth in life.  Even though material things of this life seem so important, they are worthless in comparison with eternal life in Christ.  Working to win souls for Him will always fill our hearts more than winning any competition ever will.