More than anything, what God wants for us is to succeed. He has a destiny for each of us. In order to fulfill the purpose He has for us, we have to run the race He has set out for us. We have to follow Him.
Most of us have no idea what that entails and others are far enough along on our journeys to know full well what that entails. It may scare us because we don’t think we have the fortitude to sustain the effort to keep our own fleshly desires at bay.
God, though, has done many things to help us. One of those is outlined in this simple straightforward verse: “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
When I read a verse in the Bible I like to think about what the writer is really trying to convey through those words. In the first seven chapters of Romans, Paul is talking about the push and pull we all feel between our selfish desires and what God wants for us. We can only accomplish that by surrendering completely to Jesus.
Then God lets us know that He understands we still have a sin nature and we are not perfect. He tells us that even though no failure/sin can enter heaven, we are good as long as we are “in Christ Jesus.” We deserve to be condemned, but God says that Jesus paid that price for us. He took on our condemnation when we live our lives in union with what He wants for us.
We Are Called
The big question, though, is why? In my limited understanding, I believe it is because God wants to build character in us and that only comes through trial and error. We have to fail before we can succeed. He wants us to succeed in order to fulfill the assignment or assignments He has for us here on this earth. We are all called to share the good news of Jesus in our own specific ways.
What can He do through one person, even one woman, fully devoted to Him? He can do whatever He wants, even change nations. I was listening to the online home-going service of Pastor, Doctor, Missionary Huldah Buntain and this truth was emphasized in various ways by each person who spoke.
She was a human being who lived an amazing life of love and care for others committed to what God wanted for her life even after her husband went on before her more than 30 years ago. In her 96 years here on earth she found her purpose serving the people of Calcutta, India, and stayed true to it every step of the way.
Run the Race
Was she perfect? I doubt she was because she was a frail human being, but she was definitely “In Christ”. She was running her race. She wasn’t thinking about anything that she had done wrong. She was focusing only on God’s call on her life.
We have a race to run. It’s leading us towards a heavenly prize God already has waiting for us. Paul says in Philippians 3:12-13 TPT: “I admit that I haven’t yet acquired the absolute fullness that I’m pursuing, but I run with passion into His abundance so that I may reach the purpose for which Christ Jesus laid hold of me to make me His own.
“I don’t depend on my own strength to accomplish this; however I do have one compelling focus: I forget all of the past as I fasten my heart to the future instead.”
Then in Phil 3:14 NLT, it says, “I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”
What The Enemy Wants
These scriptures they tell us what God wants, but we also have an enemy that throws that huge obstacle of condemnation in our way. He is an expert and wants to make us feel condemned, ashamed, guilty, fearful, unworthy, forgotten, useless, good-for-nothing.
When I weighed 430 pounds, the enemy was working overtime to make me feel all of those things especially condemned, ashamed and guilty. When I finally realized that God did not condemn me and all I had to do was surrender to Jesus and allow Him to lead me, it changed my life.
Romans 8:4 TPT tells me. “Every righteous requirement of the law can be fulfilled through the Anointed One living his life in us. And we are free to live, not according to our flesh, but by the dynamic power of the Holy Spirit.”
Holy Spirit Power
When I accepted Christ as my Savior, God became my legal authority. I am free to live not according to what my body tells me it wants but by the dynamic power of the Holy Spirit.
Sin has no legal power over me. The only way it takes over is if I invite it to, if I give in to it. The evil one works through my fleshly desires to throw me off course. All I have to do is tell him, “No devil, I am a child of obedience to Jesus Christ, my Savior. I listen only to Jesus.”
God sees us through the lens of our Savior. He sees us like He sees His Son. “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased and delighted,” Matthew 17:5 AMP. As we run our race with Jesus, God sees how our character is being built with each step we take and He is well-pleased and delighted with us.
Now I am free to follow God. Even if I fail, He does not condemn me. When I repent, He still smiles on me. He still approves of who I am because He created me and knows my destiny.
Don’t Live In the Past
We don’t live in the past. So let’s step out of shame, guilt, worry and fear, forgive ourselves and then start running the race. That’s what Jesus is calling us to. His goal is for us to gain the victory prize He has waiting for us.
Let’s run our race. Let’s run it well. Let’s run it as the blood-bought, forgiven children of God that we are. God is not mad at us. He is madly in love with us. We are not condemned. We are free.
For more on this topic, check out Sweet Grace for Your Journey podcast episode 91: Run the race. Go here: https://TeresaShieldsParker.com/podcast.