One of the truly extraordinary things about Jesus’ earthly ministry is how He equipped His disciples then sent them to do the work of His Kingdom. We need to equip the Body of Christ to be sent into the world to take territory for the Kingdom of God and to reap the harvest of souls for Jesus.
After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come. Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest. (Luke 10:1-2)
Every person is born with the innate desire to do something with their life. God creates every person with a unique set of gifts and abilities to fulfill a specific purpose. Frustration occurs when you wind up doing something other than what you’re purposed to do.
Likewise each person has a race to run that we commonly call life. Everybody wants to finish well – that is, everyone wants to leave their mark on the world.
Jesus, when He came into this world, came to change it. He would leave a mark that would shape the world – defining clearly the line between good and evil; light and darkness.
One of the main issues we face in running the race of life is lack of knowledge (and applied knowledge is wisdom). We neither know how to start, how to run, nor how to finish. In order to do that, we must properly train and discipline ourselves.
This is what is commonly called discipleship.
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, (Hebrews 12:1)
We need to know how to Get Ready, Get Set, and Go!
Ready – Prepared
Khalila Ali, a former wife of Muhammad Ali said she was frustrated with her husband in that he did not adequately prepare for the first fight he lost with Joe Frazier. Businesses fail every day because they fail to prepare. It is said that if you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail. Therefore you must prepare yourself for the race you are to run.
You must prepare your heart. The Psalmist wrote that you are to guard your heart, because from it flow the issues of life.
O Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, our fathers, keep this for ever in the imagination of the thoughts of the heart of thy people, and prepare their heart unto thee: (1 Chronicles 29:18)
You must prepare your body and mind. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 9:27 that we “place under our bodies and bring them into subjection.” Subjection to what? Your spirit, under the direction of the Holy Spirit.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world:but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Romans 12:1-2)
Then we must know that our preparation must stem from Jesus’ preparation. What did He prepare for us? The Kingdom that was prepared for us from the foundation of the world! Just like Jesus didn’t come to take sides in the world, He came to take over, so, too, has He given us this authority to rule and reign with Him in this world!
Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: (Matthew 25:34)
Most of all, we must prepare spiritually. What we call the Five-Fold ministry has a responsibility to help believers train spiritually. Now, understand, your spirit is perfected in Christ – it will not get any stronger or better. However, you can continuously learn to tap into your spirit and access the power of the Holy Spirit more effectively. As you learn effectiveness in your spiritual walk, you are equipped and built up!
And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: (Ephesians 4:11-12)
Set – Purposed
We have to be tuned into our purpose. If you don’t know your purpose, you need to bookmark this and go back to God and ask Him to reveal it to you. This is absolutely critical because, if you don’t, you’ll either get stuck in life – never getting out of the starting blocks – or worse, running a race intended for someone else.
It’s like a sprinter being asked to run a marathon – that just ain’t her race!
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, (Luke 4:18)
Purpose helps you get endurance. One of the things the devil wants no believer to know is what is his purpose. Why? Because once you know your purpose, it is impossible to stop you without stealing from you, killing you, or destroying you.
Endurance born of purpose gets you to the point that no distraction will move you. You will effectively run your race, staying in your lane, with your eyes on the prize of your life!
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2)
Sometimes, when you understand your purpose, it will irritate those who don’t know their purpose – and the devil will use them to try to trip you up. The good news is that it will agitate those who who are actively seeking or already know their purpose.
Jesus’ followers were agitated by His desire to go to Jerusalem but his detractors were irritated by it!
And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem, (Luke 9:51)
Purpose sets, roots, and grounds you in truth.
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. (1 Corinthians 15:58)
Go – Propelled
Now that you’ve been prepared and purposed, it’s time to move forward – to be propelled! At the end-of-the-day, this is what it’s all about. We are called to take territory for the Kingdom of God – retreat is not an option.
We are called to preach the Gospel – the too-good-to-be-true news of Jesus and His Kingdom. When we effectively preach what He preached, we’ll get the results He got! Jesus preached the love of God and He revealed liberty in Him!
Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick. (Luke 9:1-2)
When we preach what Jesus preached and get the results Jesus got, our confidence in His ability increases. And we will see that we do, indeed, have authority over the ability of the enemy. This confidence brings certainty. It’s just like when a boxer trains, when he goes from mere shadowboxing to actual sparring, he gains confidence that the instruction and training he’s been given will bring him victory when he actually steps into the ring!
I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: (1 Corinthians 9:26)
When this confidence is sufficiently built in us, we are able to take the training regimen imparted to us and share it with others. It is only when you have been effectively discipled that you can effectively disciple others. We are commanded to GO into the world and make disciples – that is, to reproduce after our own kind!
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: (Matthew 28:19)
We all must run our race and run it the way we’re purposed. Some run a race of speed. Some run a race of distance. Some run a race of strength, others run a race of skill. But we all must run our race with patience and meekness.
I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all. (Ecclesiastes 9:11)
Everyone has a race to run and everyone has a prize to obtain. Know this, though, that if you have Jesus, you’ve already obtained the greatest prize of all!
Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. (1 Corinthians 9:24)
Here’s the good news…I’m sorry, the too-good-to-be-true-news: because of Jesus’ victory on the cross, in the end we win!
Be prepared. Be purposed. Be faithful. Be consistent. Finish your race!
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: (2 Timothy 4:7)
© 2014 – Derrick Day (www.derrickday.com)