Briefing: I have been in law enforcement for a long time. I am surprised at how close I am to retirement. When I look back on my career I realize that it has been a marathon, not a sprint.
Dispatch (Assignment): Read Romans 8:18-27.
On the Street: Our world is moving more towards a culture of hate and lack of respect for all authority. There is an escalation of violence towards peace officers and humanity in general. We have been moving in this direction for the last couple of years. I admit, there have been a couple of times when I wanted to just turn in my badge and gun and go do something else but then I re-check my motives for doing the job and press on.
Did you run track in high school? I did and I can tell you I did not like it. I was not very fast and I hated losing. Not a good combination for a sprinter. Now that I am older I enjoy running, as long as it is on my terms. I can run at my own pace, there are no mandatory distances and I don’t have to lose to anyone.
In this section of Romans, Paul is teaching us about the race of life. He points out that the run may be hard but our hope is in the finish line. A better way to put it – a mother may have tremendous pain giving birth but once the child is born, the pain pales in comparison to the joy the child brings. The race of this life has even greater joy at the end.
This running analogy comes up two more times in the Bible. I believe it is such a good analogy because being in a long, hard run is not fun for most of us. We can understand the desire for the finish line while in the midst of full out exertion, working hard to win and enduring to the end. If there was not a hope for the finish line, most, including me, would probably quit. 1 Corinthians 9:24-25 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.” This is our hope and why we run the race.
The analogy out of Hebrews puts more emphasis on the hope and gives an example that no one can argue against. Hebrews 12:1 says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” The hope we speak of is found in verse two, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Jesus is standing at our finish line waiting for us to cross. He is what we fix our eyes on while running the race. Jesus is our hope. We read that Jesus also had hope during His race and had His eyes fixed as well. He, however, had His eyes fixed on salvation for all who believe.
Investigational Resources: Jeremiah 29:1, Proverbs 13:12 and Hebrews 6:19.
Officer Safety Principle: Don’t put your hope in retirement or the things of this world. Our hope is in Jesus Christ.
from The Book of Romans Through the Eyes of a Cop
©by Charles Gilliland. Used by permission.
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