[Today’s devotion about running the race is a part of the Weekend Word devotional series. Check back every Saturday for fresh insights from God’s Word, or follow my blog via email or WordPress to have my content sent straight to your inbox.]
Read: 1 Corinthians 1:4-9
Today’s Scripture: “He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.“ (1 Corinthians 1:8)
During the announcements at church the last few weeks, we’ve watched a video about a man running a race. In the video, the man injures his leg. Instead of giving up all hope of finishing the race, he gets back up and limps toward the finish.
With still a long way to go, another man notices the injured runner and jogs to his side. With the help of the uninjured man, our runner makes it to the finish line.
The video was an illustration about helping missionaries by giving to missions, but when I saw it, it also reminded me of Christ. When we fail, fall short, or struggle through difficulty, Jesus is by our side to help us push through.
In the Bible, the apostle Paul often describes life as a race (1 Cor. 9:24, 2 Tim. 4:7). He talks about pressing on toward eternity with Christ.
But it can sometimes feel like a long race, and there are plenty of chances along the way to stumble and fall. Plenty of opportunities to sin and fall short. How can we remain blameless to the end? That seems like a tall order.
It’s easy for me to fall into this train of thought. Maybe it is for you, too. But it’s not helpful or true, and we can thankfully challenge this line of thinking.
You see, we know that salvation is by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8). It’s a gift of God, not of works. But even though we know this, we can still battle fears of coming up short. Because we live in this imperfect world and still sin despite our best intentions, our sin can lead us to believe that we don’t belong in God’s presence.
Be honest with yourself for a minute and ask yourself if you harbor these fears. If you don’t, that’s great. But if you do, even though you know you’ve been saved by grace, you’re not the only one to feel that way. Perhaps more of us feel that way than we let on.
Take a look at 1 Corinthians 1:8 again. Running the race isn’t about you keeping yourself blameless. It’s about God keeping you blameless.
The word “blameless” here means “not to be called to account.” It doesn’t mean that you haven’t sinned. It means that you aren’t “convictable” for your sin. If you belong to Jesus, your sin won’t be held against you when you stand before God in the end. His death and resurrection already has it covered.
Pressing on until the end can be difficult. But when you feel weak, when you stumble and fall, or when you’re weighed down by guilt, Jesus comes alongside you to give you the strength to keep running the race.
And when He brings you to the end, you’ll stand blameless before Him. Not by your own merit, but by the grace given to you by Jesus’ sacrificial gift. Whenever guilt tries to condemn you, remind yourself of this simple truth.
Today’s Thoughts: Do you still harbor fears about being in God’s presence even though you know your sin is forgiven? Are you afraid that by the time you stand before God, you’ll come up short? How can knowing that God can keep you blameless and strengthen you to the end help you release that burden?