Life’s Three-legged Race

9 Jun

Do the kids have three-legged races these days of virtual reality games? Maybe at old-fashioned fun fairs? I’m afraid they may have gone the way of greased pig catching contests, although they may still be around in some rural areas during certain celebrations. But three-legged races are part of my school day memories and were as much a part of childhood as tag, Red Rover, and Hide-and-Seek.

Strategy of the game

Winning racers learned how to coordinate their steps. Having their adjacent legs tied together was not enough. Unified syncopation made winners rise above the other contestants. Even with that, however, the two needed to be somewhat evenly matched in terms of length of stride. Or, the one with the longer stride had to learn to match his partner’s step. Some may have fallen into step; others may have developed a cadence like: tied, free…tied, free; 1, 2…1,2; or any other designation not left, right since one’s left was tied to the other’s right.

Strategy of life

No matter how they worked it out between themselves, they had to agree on some system to keep them from making their partner trip and fall. That reminds me of a verse I read recently from the prophet Amos. In chapter 3 and verse 3 of his book, he asked, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” It’s one line spoken a direct word from God to Israel, rebuking them from going their ways and opposing God’s. Therefore, judgment was coming upon them.

That stern reprimand speaks volumes to Christians. We’ve betrothed ourselves to Jesus. We’ve tied our lives to His will and purpose for us. As Paul wrote to the church in Rome, we are to reckon ourselves dead to sin and alive to Christ. We are to be yoked together with him. How well are we doing in life’s three-legged race? Do our lives reveal we agree with Him? These are tough questions I have wrestled with and prayed over for the last few years. I’m happy for the times I can say I believe I do show that. I cringe and cry out when something bad happens to uncover attitudes, words and actions that show how out of step I really am.

God provides for us to win

A little later in Amos, there is a word of hope. After detailing Israel’s failures—in so many words because they were tied to the wrong partner in their friendship with their Godless neighbors—and escalating the specifics of their offense and judgment, chapter four ends with, “For behold, He who forms mountains, and creates the wind, who declares to man what his thought is, and makes the morning darkness, who treads the high places of the earth—The Lord God of hosts is His name,” (Amos 4:13 NKJV). In other words, despite their callous dismissal of God, He declares/reveals Himself to them. His anger with sin does not obliterate His love. He reaches out to them again.

And I am so thankful for 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Humility opens the door to receive grace. Grace becomes the vehicle for mercy. Mercy takes us to stand upright before God’s throne. There we can get our syncopation restored so we can win in this three-legged race.

 

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