“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but onlyone receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.”-1 Corinthians 9:24
I became a Christian my junior year in high school. It was February 18, 1999 at a winter camp retreat. I remember it well. The greatest moment of my life.
Of course, like any new convert, I had no clue what it meant to live as a follower of Jesus. I had to look around me and observe the examples that were being set.
I didn’t have anyone close to me in my family who, at least that I knew of, were practicing Christians. So, I had to learn from the youth pastor and my friends.
The only problem with that was they were all seasoned veterans at the Christian thing. They were raised in the church or had been going for quite some time and I had barely come to understand the idea of reading the bible.
I started to base my faith on them. I began trying to do what they did. I raised my hands in praise when they did. I cried when they did. I prayed like they did. I wasn’t living my own faith, but walking in theirs.
Now, don’t get me wrong, it was great to have people around me I could learn from. In fact, it helped me figure out the purpose of some of the actions we do in church. However, my issue was trying to copy exactly what they did and not discovering God’s movement in me.
God moves in everyone differently. Not everyone should be crying at the same time. Not everyone should be raising their hands at the same time. The Spirit will speak and guide, which will move each person to do whatever God leads them to do.
If we do what everyone else does, then we aren’t running our own race, but we are attached in a three legged race and the way we finish depends on the person we are connected with.
If I continued copying, I would have failed.
Well, many of my friends who I was watching, were still learning too. Many actually went on a different faith journey and have not come back to walking with Jesus.
I had to learn my own way. I had to learn how to pray the way I was led to pray. I had to learn to listen to the Spirit during worship and follow His lead and not others around me.
If you are new to the faith, let me encourage you to learn from others, but strive to discover your own pace. Don’t expect to know how to pray majestic prayers, just pray what is on your heart. Don’t expect to understand everything you hear right away, but hunger for knowledge and wisdom in the Word of God.
Listen and watch others who have been running the race for awhile, but remember, this is the race God has you running. Follow His pace, trust His guidance, and run the best way you can.
Take your time and know that, as long as you follow Jesus in your journey, the same prize is coming to all who claim Him.
The great thing about it is, we all won’t have the same experience on earth, but when we come to Christ in the end we will bow down together.
May you learn to run your own race. May you have healthy followers of Jesus around you as you grow in your faith. May you follow God’s lead in your life.
Peace and blessings friends.
QUESTION: Have you ever been confused about something in church?