“the value of the earthly and the wonder when what happens here moves us to the heavenly”
– in an email from my friend and former fellow team blogger at Ishshah’s Story, Pat Joyce –
She’s ba-a-ck. I heard the ‘Ding. Ding.’ My week opened up and lots of prayerful processing has been going on, so here I am back in the ring. Or in this particular instance, being re-inspired again – by the race track.
Nearly two years ago, midway through the life span of Ishshah’s Story* – a collaborative blog for which I was a contributing/editorial member – I penned a post entitled Triple Crown. A heaven to earth / earthly to heavenly story inspired during the Belmont in June 2015 when American Pharoah defied the odds stacked against him.
Reminds me of that guy named Rocky Balboa, as well as individuals in spiritual training in out of the way places. Unseen. Unnoticed. Obscure. Then, hold your horses! It’s their race and they’re showing up to not only run it, but win it.
When was the last time you were led by the Spirit of the Lord? I mean, consider. By the Spirit of the Lord, not by the sway of man’s opinion, carefully calculated statistics, or ones you might disappoint if you followed His lead?
It’s not a rhetorical question for the masses, but one that has a deeply personal answer. There’s a story there no matter how you respond: yesterday, five years ago, three decades ago, never, don’t know, how would I know?
There comes a time when breaking out of the pack is required in order to be trained, groomed and made ready. If we do not understand this calling aside to be led by the Spirit of the Lord, we may misinterpret, or miss what He is about.
This spiritual race is a one-prize race. We are all invited to run it. The apostle Paul said:
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. (I Corinthians 9:24-27)
I for one do not want, after preaching to others, to be disqualified for the prize. The Father’s purpose, sure from before the Beginning, is an unfolding purpose that has played out up to and including our/my day and time, in which He desires we/I play a key role. Each must answer for themselves to Him; not to secular or popular Christian opinion; stats; or approval ratings of others be they friends, family or foes.
Once you know your Audience, you hear Him share things you couldn’t hear before and sense His heart beat in ways you didn’t feel before. We may not run for the Triple Crown, but we may run for a crown that will last forever. We race against no one else. We are our own competition.
The apostle Paul in his letter to the Ephesians, inspired by the Holy Spirit, left us a roadmap from start to finish – from God’s will and purpose to our ultimate inheritance for which we have been sealed by the Holy Spirit:
1 Paul, an emissary of Jesus the Anointed, directly commissioned as His representative by the will of God, to the saints [in Ephesus] faithful in Jesus the Anointed…
3 Blessed be God, the Father of our Lord Jesus the Anointed One, who grants us every spiritual blessing in these heavenly realms where we live in the Anointed—not because of anything we have done, but because of what He has done for us.
4 God chose us to be in a relationship with Him even before He laid out plans for this world; He wanted us to live holy lives characterized by love, free from sin, and blameless before Him.
5 He destined us to be adopted as His children through the covenant Jesus the Anointed inaugurated in His sacrificial life. This was His pleasure and His will for us.
6 Ultimately God is the one worthy of praise for showing us His grace; He is merciful and marvelous, freely giving us these gifts in His Beloved.
7 Visualize this: His blood freely flowing down the cross, setting us free! We are forgiven for our sinful ways by the richness of His grace,
8 which He has poured all over us. With all wisdom and insight,
9 He has enlightened us to the great mystery at the center of His will. With immense pleasure, He laid out His intentions through Jesus,
10 a plan that will climax when the time is right as He returns to create order and unity—both in heaven and on earth—when all things are brought together under the Anointed’s royal rule. In Him 11 we stand to inherit even more. As His heirs, we are predestined to play a key role in His unfolding purpose that is energizing everything to conform to His will.
12 As a result, we—the first to place our hope in the Anointed One—will live in a way to bring Him glory and praise.
13 Because you, too, have heard the word of truth—the good news of your salvation—and because you believed in the One who is truth, your lives are marked with His seal. This is none other than the Holy Spirit who was promised 14 as the guarantee toward the inheritance we are to receive when He frees and rescues all who belong to Him.
To God be all praise and glory! (Ephesians 1:1,3-14 The Voice)
It is in between the start and the finish that we reflect, to varying personal degrees, being ‘chosen to be in a relationship with Him even before He laid out plans for this world’ – for the purpose that – ‘as His heirs, we are predestined to play a key role in His unfolding purpose that is energizing everything to conform to His will’.
Though the American flag is featured in these Election Heart posts, today’s could feature any nation’s flag. Wherever there are believers populating this globe, the collective Body of Christ is called to its unique races.
I pray you choose to run in such a way as to get the prize.
Running with hinds’ feet,
~ Gracefully Free
P.S. More spiritual inspiration of the equine variety: Vineyard Days – A Company of Horses. I think the Lord loves His horses.