You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion is not from Him who calls you.
For the Glory is a new book (2016) about Eric Liddell of Chariots of Fire fame (available in the WBC library or through Chapters bookstore). Chariots of Fire focused on just one day in a remarkable life that was so much more than one Olympic race. After many years serving Christ as a missionary in China, Eric was separated from his wife and daughters and sent to a prison camp where he eventually died.
Back in his younger days (before that famed Olympic race), Eric participated in the Triangular International (England, Scotland, and Ireland). About ten feet into the race another runner stepped on Eric’s foot and pushed him over. Eric rolled into the grass and, thinking that since he stepped off the track he was disqualified, he sat up and leisurely watched the other racers. His coach yelled at him to keep running, but because of the noise of the crowd Eric couldn’t hear him. Finally an official came over and told him to get back into the race.
Paul writes to the Galatians that they were doing well. They were running a good race, but then (like Eric) someone got them off track. In the case of the Galatians that was the “religious” Jewish leaders. Now instead of running the race well and listening to the message Paul heard directly from Christ, they were allowing others to influence them.
“You are not listening to the truth,” Paul told them (again and again).
We (in our view from 2017) can look at the situation in Galatia and arrogantly proclaim that couldn’t happen to us. We wouldn’t allow someone to get us off track . . . well, except for that trendy new “Christian” book all our friends are reading, or that television evangelist who claims to have new revelations from God, or that cousin who convinced us to start attending a church that twists the truth of the Gospel. We all have been guilty (at one time or another) of allowing people to have more influence on our lives than the truth of God’s Word.
With the official’s prodding Eric got back into the race, but the other runners were almost twenty yards ahead, a seemingly insurmountable distance to catch up. However, not only did Eric do so, he gave the run everything he had and won.
Eric was cut off from the race; but he once again got going toward the finish line. We’re human and yes, we will get off track. But we can get back on track. We can make the choice to follow Christ with everything we have and run well.
Questions for Reflection/Discussion: Who influences you to get off track? What can we do to stay in the race and keep our eyes on Christ rather than other people?
This week’s devotions were written by Linda Massey Weddle. Linda is the author of thirteen books, and numerous short stories and articles. For the past twenty-three years she has worked at Awana as a writer. Linda has attended WBC for the past six years.