Several Native American tribes of the Eastern Woodlands culture forced prisoners to run the gauntlet (notables included Daniel Boone). Forced to run between two rows of people repeatedly striking him, the runner could only survive by taking the blows while moving forward and avoiding a stumble. No mercy is shown to one who loses his footing and falls to the ground. Excerpt Running the Climate Gauntlet by Ron Clutz
Do you not see that in a running competition all take part, but only one gets the reward? So let your minds be fixed on the reward. And every man who takes part in the sports has self-control in all things. Now they do it to get a crown which is of this world, but we for an eternal crown. So then I am running, not uncertainly; so I am fighting, not as one who gives blows in the air: But I give blows to my body, and keep it under control, for fear that, after having given the good news to others, I myself might not have God’s approval. I Corinthians 9:24-27
The Apostle Paul is writing about competition. Why does a runner compete? To receive a prize. Paul is talking about focus here. He is saying if you are going to compete and run in the ways of the Lord, there is a prize at the end of our lives that is not of this world, but of a world that is eternal. The beauty of receiving the winners crown is that it is available to all those who will participate.
We are running a race to get to a place that is beyond this life and while we are running our desire should be to subdue or flesh, giving the good news to others along the way. There are many times we feel like we are running a gauntlet,
Keep in mind that our goal should be to encounter God with such a closeness that our experiences and relationships with Him are out of this world!
We should be having Close Encounters of the God Kind!
When my boys were young they played ball and they got a trophy at the end of the season. The better athletes got special recognition and most of the time a little better trophy. Some go on to play professional sports and of course the reward for how they play is gaged by fame and money. We go to work and compete with others for the top positions in order to earn more money and provide for our families. Paul is saying to keep your purpose and your race under submission to the Lord in order that when you finish the race, you will have been running this race with the right heart. This takes discipline and self-control.
God is trying to get our attention. He is trying to have an encounter with us, a close encounter. He love us just like we love our children and grandchildren.
For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present [you as] a chaste virgin to Christ. 2 Corinthians 11:2
God wants us to run our race just for Him! When Paul visited Areopagus he was among the “talkers.” Each one wanted the other to listen and hear their viewpoint about the philosophies of life.
Areopagus (Areios Pagos)
This was a place in Athens. This name is the Latin form of the Greek word
translated “Mars’ Hill.” It also denotes the council or court of justice
which met in the open air on the hill. The council was held on the
southeast summit of a rocky height west of the Acropolis at Athens. The
council was founded by Solon, and consisted of nine archons or chief
magistrates who were then in office, and the ex-archons of blameless life.
On this hill of Mars (Greek: Ares) Paul delivered his memorable address to
the “men of Athens” (Acts 17:22-31).
Ares, for whom the hill is named, was the Greek god of war. Mars was the
Roman name for the same God.
These men were competing to be the best mind of the day. Paul asked them an important question. One that would change many of their lives. Who is the unknown God?
Don’t ask a question you don’t know the answer to it?
Paul knew the answer. He had probably been on that hill before with some of these men possibly years earlier. Paul was a Roman thinker… These are the types of people that would have attracted him. Competers, talkers, men who wanted to be heard…
One of my former pastors was riding in his vehicle with his grandaughter. He was talking to his wife and wasn’t paying attention to his little grandaughter who was trying to get his attention. She had something important to say, and no one was listenting, epsecially her grandfather who most of the time ALWAYS wanted to hear from her. She wanted to be part of the conversation!
Then she took an opportunity for a lull in the conversation and said to her grandfather, “Ok, Mr. Talker, it’s my turn!”
I feel the Lord saying to me sometimes, “Ok, Ms. Talker… It’s My turn.”
I was a talker growing up. I still like to talk, I love to teach and pray for people. I like to talk face to face with people. Talking on the phone bothers me. Texting is even worse!
I came to Tallahassee in 1991. I had two little boys ages 6 and 4. Colt and Maverick. They were everything to me. Greed, sin, mental illness had brought me to my knees in a road to Damascus type of experience just like Paul when he was called Saul of Tarsus. After I gave my whole heart to the Lord it seemed like everything fell apart. I lost everything I had been competing for. The only things I had left were the Lord, my children, some family and a church.
I spent every morning in prayer and Bible study – faithfully. As I gained confidence and ability, I was called into the ministry. I worked then ran to take my sons to ball practice, their ball games and we were in church every time the doors were open. There were lots of talented and gifted women in the church. Men too. It wasn’t long before I felt in order to be accepted that I had to be the best at everything. I had to be the best prayer warrior, the best teacher, the best single mom, the best counselor in the jail, and so on and so on. And I had to do everything the best! I had to be the best “talker!”
But one good thing I had always taught my boys was even if you don’t get first prize, always run the best race you can. Then, even if someone else gets first place, don’t think you should have gotten it, know and understand that it is God who determines the winner and He loves everyone. There are no losers in His sight.
But, as in my case, when you begin to enter all the races and stop listening to God you get burned out and tired. Sometimes God will even use a crisis to get your attention. We look around and there are a multitude of philosphers and gods taking the place of our one and only true God, Jesus.
Diamonds sparkle for a reason. They’ve been thoroughly polished, scraped and pressurized.
Searching for God’s Treasure,
from ashes to beauty
Please visit my website to learn more about from ashes to beauty… Cinderella Released and how you can become part of this ministry!