Why do runners finish their races when the first three places have already been claimed?
I think most would agree that they finish the race because winning the top three prizes isn’t the only reason runners run. Finishing the race is a reward. Completing the journey before them gives runners a great level of satisfaction.
The section we’re in so far in John 15 is Jesus’ metaphor about His Father as the gardener, Jesus as the vine, and us (His disciples) as the branches. We are pruned. The Lord expects production from us. Jesus continues in John 15:6-7:
If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.John 15:6-7
New International Version
“Fire” is a symbol of judgment throughout the Scriptures. It testifies to the uselessness of what it consumes. The faithless have one future: judgment by fire. These are not my words but the uniform witness of Scripture. What kind of God would He be if He didn’t follow through on His promise for the unrepentant?
Those who do not persevere in their faith live fruitless lives. They may go through all the motions of Christianity, but their hearts are dead. They may even do things that are very good for the world, and God, in His sovereignty, may actually use their misguided actions to bring about His glory, but in the end, the Lord will say the words recorded in Matthew 7:23, “I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers.”
But the emphasis here is on those who persevere—that is, they hold to the faith. It underscores the blessings to be found in this. Although it’s couched in a warning, the hope of verse seven is inspiring!
When we are dwelling in Jesus, and He is dwelling in us, we can “ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” To remain in Christ is to stay connected to our source of power. We accept the authority of His word and His commands, and our prayers are granted by His desire and blessing.
Jesus was not promising to grant every whim of a believer’s life but to honor the one persevering in his or her faith in Him. Life in the Vineyard can be tough. There are times we call out in pain, and that moves Jesus. He grants those requests that will bring us the greatest good and bring Him the greatest glory.
When He moves into our hearts, and we are in Him, we CAN NOT continue to live the same sinful lives. The Apostle Paul, under the Holy Spirit’s inspiration, writes in Romans 8:29-30, “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.”
This is how we persevere in the vineyard: we become more and more like Jesus. “Therefore,” we read in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
And as we are being conformed to the image of our Savior, we can seek the blessings the Lord graciously offers to us. If there’s a need in your life, TELL HIM.
I honestly believe many Christians have the struggles in their lives because they have not cultivated a private worship time. How are you doing with that?
One thing is for sure: the more you spend time with Him, the more you trust Him, and suddenly the same junk you’re dealing with doesn’t seem too bad. And it’s not because the situation has changed; it’s because you KNOW He’s there, and you KNOW He’s in control.
Remain in Him as He remains in you and enjoy the blessings of finishing your spiritual race for Him. Are you persevering for Him? Are you still running?
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