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Several Bethany Baptist Church folks went out on a hayride and cookout at the Corder farm Friday evening. It was a beautiful evening with the temperatures on the cool side, but perfect for kids running around the hay field turned playing field. There was a big pot of Ruby’s “World Famous Chili” that was enjoyed along with all sorts of crackers and chips, dips, hotdogs, marshmallows, S’mores, fruit, and an assortment of brownies and cookies.
The Youth Choir sang a special in the morning service. Pastor Bob Sorensen used Galatians 5:7 as his text verse for a message he called, “Ye did run well.”
There were some trying to persuade the Galatians that they should go back under the law for justification. Paul was warning them to stand fast in the liberty where with Christ had made them free. They were forgetting that justification came only through faith in what Jesus had done. To go back under the law was to reject what Jesus had done for them and make salvation a matter of their own works.
What does it take to run well? For one thing we must always run on the right road. Matthew 7:13 says that it is a narrow way and few really find it. It is not the road of good intentions nor the road of good works. It is not what you do to earn salvation, but what Jesus has already done. The right road is a road of obedience, of faith, and holy living all for the honor of Jesus.
To run well, we must run the right direction. It is not just what “seems” right. If the football player catches a pass and runs to the wrong goal, his coach will not praise him for running well. Being sincere will not be good enough if you are sincerely wrong. Jesus told Nicodemus that, “Ye must be born again.” Jesus also said, “Repent.” It is repent or perish, it is salvation or damnation. The right road and the right direction always begin at the cross.
To run well, we must run with the right attitude. The right attitude is love for God and a desire to please him. We must run with the right purpose. We want to win trophies so that we can lay them at the feet of Jesus. We run not for our honor and glory. It is all about Jesus who saved our souls.
There are things that will hinder us in our race. We still have a sinful nature. The spirit still struggles with the flesh. There are sins that so easily beset us. One of those is the inclination to elevate self. It is anything that takes our eyes off the goal. There are things that can entangle us, not the least is a love for the world and a lust for what it seems to offer. Our weakness or infirmity may pull us back like swimming against an undercurrent. But if we falter in our running, we still have Jesus who will pick us up, dust us off, and put us back in the race. It is by his grace and our faith that we reach the goal.