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Going for the gold with God (2)

What does God want us to be?  

I think there are a couple of answers to that question.  The first answer would be that God wants us to be in relationship with Him.  This is true for everyone everywhere.  There is no one who is born into this world who isn’t the object of His love or with whom He doesn’t desire relationship (1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9). 

There are two groups who traveled to Beijing for the Olympics.  The first group is composed of people who went to watch the Games.  They had the means and the opportunity to go and so they went.  They are spectators.  The second group that traveled to Beijing consists of the athletes representing the different countries of the world.  They are there because they have been called to be there.  They were chosen by their countries and they are there as participants.

There is no first group with God.  All people have been called to be participants in His life.  He calls us through the gospel – on the basis of His Son’s death and resurrection on our behalf (2 Thessalonians 2:14).  This redemptive work is what makes it possible for us to share God’s life. 

Everyone has been called, but (like our phones), we have a choice whether we want to answer God’s call.  You can take a look at the accounts of people becoming Christians in the book of Acts to see what was involved in responding to God’s call.  They believed the good news concerning Jesus and as a result of their faith in Him, they repented of their sinful deeds, and were immersed (chapters 2,8,10,16). 

The second answer to the question, “What does God want us to be?” has to do with the gifts God has given us.  It’s easily to look at Michael Phelps or Yao Ming and see that they have physical gifts that correspond to their particular sports.  Neither would do well on the pommel horse, throwing the shot put, or running the hundred meter sprint.  In the same way, God has given different gifts to His children (Romans 12:4-8).  We bring glory to Him when we use our gifts to serve others (1 Peter 4:10-11).  What God wants us to be are people who go in the direction of our gifts. 

This means that like any athlete, we must work hard to develop our gifts.  A Christian named Timothy was told by Paul not to neglect his gift (1 Timothy 4:14), and to "fan into flame,” his gift (2 Timothy 1:6).  Whatever else was involved, Timothy was being told there was something he had to do!  If we are to use our gifts well and to our Father’s glory, then going in the direction of our gifts will include continual discipline, training, and refining.   

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 a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. (1 Corinthians 9:24-27).

In the end, it’s not what we do for God --- it’s what He does for us.  He’s called us to win the prize.  It’s not a prize that we compete with others for, it’s the prize he has for each of us.  It’s our prize and He’s called us to win it (Philippians 3:13-14; 2 Timothy 4:8).

Go for the gold in your relationship with Him!

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