Eyes on the Prize
Akolutos. What does it mean? It's the Greek word for "without hindrances, freely, unhindered."
Have you ever heard someone say, "He or she has a calling on his or her life?" Well in essence, they do!
Jeremiah 29:11 says, "For I know the plans I have for you...plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
God has plans for each of us, but it is up to us whether or not we will obediently accept the call and submit to His Lordship and leadership in fulfilling it.
Some of us may be called specifically to things within our local church body such as Pastor, teacher, nursery director (God bless you!) or musician.
Some are called to specific tasks outside of the church walls. Police (and other government authorities) are talked about specifically in Romans 13; some are called to be nurses, doctors, missionaries, but all Christians are called to be a light in a dark world - to shine His light and proclaim the good news!
Early 20th century evangelist and teacher, Oswald Chambers, best known for his work My Utmost for His Highest, began his life studying art in London and Edinburg. It was his goal to become an aspiring artist, and he had become quite good at it. But then...God asked him to surrender that dream, and instead follow Him into higher endeavors.
At first thought, we might think, "That's unfair! Why would God make him give up something he loved?" Oh, but we've missed the point. God didn't "make" him (or us) do anything. He simply asked him (and us) to willingly surrender that which held higher esteem than God. After Oswald laid down his Isaac, he received something far greater and more meaningful than he could have ever imagined! We are promised that as well.
Chambers later wrote, "We have no right to decide where we should be placed, or to have preconceived ideas as to what God is preparing us to do. God engineers everything; and wherever He places us, our one supreme goal should be to pour out our lives in wholehearted devotion to Him in that particular work."
Last week, I saw a post on Facebook that said something like, "If anything gets in between you and God, then it has to go." So I ask...is there anything hindering you from accepting the call?
I want to look at our focal verses in Acts 28:30-31. These last words came as an afterthought at the end of several chapters describing Paul's ministry.
Paul had been traveling throughout preaching and teaching the good news of Jesus. In Chapter 21 and 22, Paul is arrested in Jerusalem, beaten by the crowd and taken into the barracks for protection. In Chapter 23, Paul's nephew finds out about a plot to kill Paul, so he is quickly transported to Caesarea under armed guard. Chapter 24 we find him on trial before Felix, then left in prison for two more years until Chapters 25 and 26 where he goes before Festus and King Agrippa. Chapters 27 and 28, he is sent along with other prisoners to Rome by ship, where he faces a storm, a shipwreck, a snake bite and finally placed under house arrest.
Acts 28:30-31 says:
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 someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.