Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith;

Salvation is a gift from God. It is not of works, lest any man should boast (Ephesians 2:8-9). But any alleged salvation that is void of works or good fruit is a counterfeit faith. This morning in our first study of 2020, we are looking at what Jesus called the narrow path that leadeth unto life (Matthew 7:14). The motive is the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

The Christian faith is not a spectator sport. It is not a passive way of life. It is a disciplined way of life, with a clear-cut goal in mind – the upward prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13-14). This life of following Jesus is not a competition with fellow believers. It is battle against the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. And to win this race, we are called upon to compete with the disciplined mindset of an athlete who is training to compete for the gold medal in the Olympic Games. You are not saved as a result of running a race, but you are crowned with rewards if you follow the rules when the event is over. This mindset is a must for all of those who desire to hear The Master say, “Well done, you good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21).

Our flesh is that traitor within. Until we get to heaven, we will be dealing with this flesh. By self- discipline we give it knockout blows. Those who pursue the interests of their souls must battle hard with fleshly lusts. The body must not be suffered to rule. It is our full assurance of the love of God and eternal life that fuels and sustains us towards this kind of living and discipline for the cause of Christ and the glory of God. And what keeps us focused when we get weary, discouraged, or depressed is looking unto Jesus Christ, The Author and Finisher of our faith, Who endured the most incredible shame and pain for us, that we might know Him as Savior and follow Him as Lord.

Run to win, beloved. Run to hear those words, “Well done, you good and faithful servant”. Selah