*While searching through my library, I came across some documents that I was given when my grandpa passed away a few years ago. It was a small collection of his sermons and bulletin articles. I found them to be of excellent quality and even greater value. I doubt he expected his writings to be on the World Wide Web as he wrote with a typewriter in years past, but here we are! Finding these writings is simply another example of how our spirits continue to live beyond the timeline of our earthly bodies.
The apostle Paul was fond of using vivid picture analogies to illustrate the Christian life. Several times he used the picture of a soldier, a farm, and an athlete to represent the Christian. Two examples of this may be found in 1 Cor. 9:7; 24-27 and in II Tim. 2:3-6.
In our world of continuous war we know about soldiers: we understand battles, sacrifice, agony, defeat, and victory. In our sports oriented society we know about athletes: we understand training, dedication, competition, losing, and winning. In our agricultural pursuits we know about the farmer: we understand tilling, weeding, irrigation, crop failures, and bumper crops.
We get excited about war, sports, and bumper crops. We can put ourselves into these efforts with sweat, toil, and tears. In the same way, as Christians, we catch the spirit of joy and excitement – the intensity of our spiritual battle – realizing we are in God’s army, on God’s team, and plowing on God’s farm. He is God: big, powerful, glorious, unconquerable! The whole world is His! We live and walk in his army, His team, His vineyard! “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it” (Ps. 24:1,2; 1 Cor. 10:26; Ps. 50:10-12).
In Psalm 50:14-15 God says (paraphrased) what I want from you is:
(1) Your true thankfulness
(2) Your promises to me fulfilled
(3) Your trust in me; acknowledgment of your dependence on me. Then I will deliver and rescue you and you can honor and glorify me!
It’s wonderful to be a spectator in the great drama of human events – watching the course of history unfold just as God wills it. But more than spectators, praise God, we are privileged to participate in the action as God’s soldiers, athletes, and farmers. We submit to the toil, the training, and the discipline so that we might attain the victory – our heavenly goal! After the effort of our Christian lives, we will know the joy of heaven’s victory – and the greater the struggle the greater the joy!