Keys to the Kingdom
Very early one morning I awakened about 1:00 a.m. and began thinking. In the midst of my random thoughts, I heard in my heart, “Stay the course.“ Those three words came out of nowhere and they didn’t correlate with anything I was thinking. I realized God was answering the question I’d presented to Him the previous day. I had basically asked, “What am I supposed to do?” in regard to a certain personal situation.
I had no idea there was such a detailed definition for the small word “stay,” which means: (1) to continue in the place or condition specified (2) to live; dwell (3) to continue; last (4) to remain to the end of, to be able to last through. The definition for “course” is: (1) onward movement; progress (2) the direction taken (3) a regular manner of procedure or conduct (wisest course). So God’s answer was: I am to continue to live my remaining time making spiritual progress, in the wisest course, in order to successfully finish my race.
My normal daily routine is to get up, start the coffee, and lay out my Bible and devotional books on the kitchen table. In my pajamas, I sit at the table and have coffee with my heavenly Father and He talks to me through His written Word. I come into His presence with awe and thanksgiving for the privilege of calling Him my Savior, Friend, Provider, Healer, Counselor, and Sustainer. God’s love is everything to me and He deserves the best and first part of my day. My training time spent in the kitchen lets the devil know whose side I’m on, plus it quenches my thirst as I run my course steady on.
I once heard a message about doing things that were not classified as sin, but they didn’t help us — they didn’t do us any good. The apostle Paul teaches on this subject: “All things are legitimate (permissible), [and we are free to do anything we please], but not all things are helpful (expedient, profitable, and wholesome). All things are legitimate, but not all things are constructive [to character] and edifying [to spiritual life] (1 Corinthians 10:23 AMP). When an individual is walking on life’s tightrope, there’s a fine line regarding balance too. “Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour” (1 Peter 5:8 AMP). I determined a long time ago that I was not going to be hors d’oeuvres for the devil. He’s gonna have to eat his lunch all by himself.
God will meet us where we are spiritually and His grace and love will transform us step by step. Although our entire being is important, Paul said that our inner life is the most important. “That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are [our inner being is] being renewed every day” (2 Corinthians 4:16 NLT). Believers have to get off the starting block and “devour God’s Word” every day so our minds and spirits can be renewed. It’s not an automatic process, otherwise it wouldn’t matter if we gave up.
Christ followers are to stay the course to the end of their race. Paul said, “As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful” (2 Timothy 4:6,7 NLT). One day we can all say that — if we’ve lived a well balanced, vigilant, cautious, and obedient life.
The Key: I started out walkin’ but I’m runnin’ my last mile Home.