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Stay in the Race!


JJ Daniel, Washington


As September mornings give way to the coolness of Autumn, and the gold & orange leaves begin to cover the ground – it puts me in mind of the natural “Seasons” of life, and the spiritual seasons we all experience along the way.


Just about the time we get settled into our own little ‘comfort zone’ and feel we have found where we ‘belong’ – change comes to disrupt, and shake us out of the complacency we’ve settled into.


Think about it!  If you think that where you are today is ‘all there is’ – and that God has nothing more in store for you - it would be easy to set down on the sidelines, and let the ‘game of life’ pass you by.


I was witness to my Dad doing just that. He was a strong, healthy, busy man – eager to minister to others - up to age seventy-six years of age.  When it seemed to him that his race was over, and purpose was done, he set down and waited for death.  He died within the year.


Looking back at his ‘Season” – I still wish he had realized how many around him needed the wisdom and understanding he could have taught.


“Where there is no vision my people perish.”   The word “perish” there means to ‘throw-off restraint’.


Paul said that we are in this life to “Run the Race” – and to “Obtain the prize.”


Sitting on the ‘sidelines’ – watching the runners run, is NOT God’s will for you, at any stage of life, or for any believer!


Ø     When you run a race you have the goal set before you.

Ø     If you are a dedicated athlete, you train for months before you run your first race. 

Ø     In every race, you put every ounce of strength you have into it – until you reach the finish line. 

Ø     Across the finish line, some runners collapse, and may even need assistance to get off the track; Others may dance around with joy; some even take one last “victory lap” to show they truly are a champion.   


The vision has ended, it is complete – and they have thrown off all restraint and discipline.  For a moment, they have no goal.


If there had been no goal / no finish line in that race… how could anyone have won?  You can’t run a race to win, unless you know where you’re going.


When we become complacent about the things of God, the things He designed us to do… we have just stepped out of the race.


Oh, we can continue to mosey down the same track, and perhaps even accomplish something along the way; however, if we allow the distractions of life to steal our vision it will also rob us of our joy and victory. 


Hab 2;2-3  says that we need to “Write the Vision” and “keep it before us” – so that everyone who sees it will know where they are going.  If you have no “goal” or ‘finish line’ – there will be ‘no restraint’ – and there will be no ‘win’. 


Keeping the vision alive - and in front of you lends itself to the self-discipline and the character of a champion.  It also keeps us ‘on course’.


Perhaps you are in a season where it appears that the vision, and the purpose that God planted inside you is “impossible” - or “it’s too late” – or that “God’s plan for you must have come to an end.”  NOT!!!!!!!


Seasons come, and seasons go – But God’s purpose continues!  He may be taking you to a new race… but He never leaves us without a race to run! A new season is just another race to run!




“Many are the plans in a mans mind, but it the Lord’s purpose for him that prevails”  Pr  19:21


My Great Nephew Miles Scott just started the first grade.  He’s not real excited about it! He is in a new school with new kids, new teacher, and it’s quite different than his year in kindergarten.  So… should his parents allow him to stay at home, or perhaps just let him stay with his kindergarten teacher a few years, until he’s comfortable with the idea of moving on?   Well, of course not! They want their son to grow and flourish, and to become all that he can be… all that God designed him to be.


The Seasons of our life can be thought of in this same way.  “School” is never out, from the time we take your first breath, until the time that breath leaves our body for the last time – we are in school.  If we ‘cut class’ we will take that class over; if we decide we don’t like the subject, and transfer to something easier - we will have to come back to the moment we allowed rebellion to lay that subject down, and start over again.  There are usually a few “full-circle” classes in our lives. 


Twelve year old niece Marissa may be quite content with the fifth grade this year, and could decide she just does not want to move on to middle school next year.  She may decide that this will be her last year of school!  * Laughing *  because I am sure that I made this  decision, when I was in the first grade! Of course, Marissa’s parents, and the law of the land will not allow her to do that, but if it did… what would that mean? 


Ø     She would never achieve the potential that God has planted in her.

Ø     She would stop growing mentally & emotionally;

Ø     When she is an adult, she would be considered socially and mentally retarded.

Ø     What could she achieve? 

Ø     Where would she succeed?


And the list could go on, and on.


The same is true with the “Seasons” of our life.  You may not like where you find yourself right now – you may be outside your comfort zone; you may even feel like you’ve been ‘benched.’  Seasons come and seasons go – and that’s the way it’s going to be! 


God loves His children with a greater love than we can understand; when He determines that it’s time for us to ‘move up’ (to grow a bit) - He will not allow us to remain in the comfort-zone of kindergarten. 


Did ya’ll happen to see the movie “Nell” with Jodie Foster?  I understand it is taken from a true story.  A perfectly healthy girl – who had never been far from home, had no education, no people to learn from.  She could not speak, and appeared to be severely retarded; it was only because she had not been taught, and had not grown mentally or emotionally. It’s sad, but that can happen to our spiritual life as well.


When you find yourself in a new “Class” or “Season” – embrace it! Run with it! And run to win!  Be ALL that your creator designed you to be. 


If you find yourself in a new season, perhaps not doing the things you’ve done for many years… rejoice!  IT’S NOT OVER! IT’S JUST A NEW ADVENTURE!





Shalom!  Shine on for Jesus!

JJ Daniel