St. John's Lutheran Church and School 2009 Lent Devotional
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April 9, 2009

Already The Race Won!

"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Hebrews 12:2).

Any athlete knows that in order to complete a race, his entire focus must stay on the finish line. The writer of Hebrews uses the analogy of the long-distance race when he writes in the verse preceding today's meditation: "And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus." He does not write that we are walking, strolling or skipping, but rather we are racing!

Runner or not, it is easy to relate to this comparison, considering the mind-boggling pace at which many of us lead our present lives. Racing here and there, checking off the lists, organizing the priorities and fulfilling expectations - only to reward ourselves with the hollow assumption that we might be more knowledgeable, attractive or wealthier than our fellow racers. We fail to run "the race marked out for us"!

Paul alludes to this in 1 Corinthians 9:25, "Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly." Running aimlessly in not racing! Today's verse promises that God has set out our course and that Jesus has run it before us! He took on the commitment and surrendered to the agony for us. He would never send us down a path that He had not already secured. His way is a route marked out by signs of God's love at every turn. We need only to live with our ears open to the Word and our eyes attentively searching for His face in our teammates. Like the wise men following the star we must look to the things that help us stay on course. The invisible signs point for us the Way.

Paul reminds us in 2 Corinthians 4:18, "So we fix our eyes not on what is seen but what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." With our eyes fixed on Jesus we will race through the joys and suffering of this life to meet Him at the finish. For He has not only led the way, but runs beside us and will follow us to present the trophy of our souls to a crowd of cheering fans!

On this side of heaven our gaze is fixed on the finish line. But upon crossing it, we will lift our eyes to lock with those of the Father, who will be waiting at the threshold of eternity; the race complete, the prize already won.

Dear Father, we ask for Your Holy Spirit to dwell in our hearts to keep us on course so that we live lives which testify to the gospel of Your grace. Thank you for sending Jesus to complete the race that we could never finish. Amen.

Katrina Murphy


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St. John's Lutheran Church and School, LaGrange, Illinois