Read 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
STRIVE~ to devote serious effort or energy to struggle in opposition; to make strenuous efforts toward any goal: to contend in battle or any conflict: resistance.
THRIVE~ to prosper; be fortunate or successful. To grow or develop vigorously; flourish: to progress toward or realize a goal despite or because of circumstances.
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way as to take the prize” (1 Corinthians 9:24 BSB) God is calling us to be in the race towards His Kingdom where our prize awaits. We are to go through life with His goal and purpose in mind. Once we realize and become comfortable (or maybe not) with our talents, God will push us gently into a partnership with Him.
One of my favorite animated films is The Incredibles it centers on a family with superpowers. The parents already know what their powers are but, the children have yet to discover theirs. Like most animated films, there comes a time when they all must work together to fight a common enemy. Through a series of events, each child finds their inner strength or superpower. What I was drawn to were Dash and Violet’s characters, he had amazing speed and she could throw a protective shield around anything or anyone. However, near the end of the movie Dash wanted to be a part of his school track team. Now the question was why?… If he knew he could outrun everyone why be on a track team? Was it talent, ego, desire to win? Yes! I believe it was a combination and also because he loved it. He loved to run, that was his talent which evolved into his purpose. Violet was closed off from the world, an introvert (I can identify wholeheartedly) her awareness of everything was magnified with the super ability to protect herself and others. They were both parts of something greater and having a healthy self-esteem is another desire God has for us. That’s what we are as Jesus followers! We are part of a team, an army for God performing our own individual talents allowing Him to evolve us into His greater purpose.
We often forget where our help comes from. God uses people to aid us when we least expect it. It could be a simple gesture like someone holding the door when our hands are full or blessing us with their presence during a rough time. Angels surround us every day doing good deeds, making it simpler to weave our way through various tasks. When our sin nature is on display others may question our direction and wonder if we are on the right path. When this happens we may need to assess whether or not we are striving without God or thriving with God. Our decisions are our own and we will have to answer to the choices we make. Our judgment is impaired and our decision-making skills fall to a remedial level when we leave God out. The key point to remember is that we must run our own race. Let us be obedient children of our Creator to let Him know He can trust us. What a privilege it is to serve Him!