The Faith Race is designed to offer you helps in your Spiritual journey. We provide rich content to help inspire and encourage you as you face these challenging days. The Faith Race is a yearly challenge to help you better understand how to meditate & memorize Scripture and then how to apply it to your everyday life. We also have helps to encourage you in understanding how to give the gospel to others and how to build a better foundation in your own life to fight back temptations. The Faith Race can be a great help in your own life!
Did you know that God wants us to memorize His Word, the Bible? The Scriptures teach us to use the Word of God to fight our spiritual battles, to hide it within us so that we follow God's Word in obedience instead of following sin.
Proverbs 7:1-3: My son, keep my words, and treasure my commands within you. Keep my commands and live, and my law as the apple of your eye. Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart.
The Faith Race is a Memorization Challenge. It is a sampling of encouraging verses from the Bible to help whet your appetite for memorizing God's Word. Follow the helps that we provide and challenge yourself to memorize the Scripture. Once you have one verse memorized, recite it to a friend, and invite them to memorize with you.
Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.
And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.
Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.
Walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.
I have not departed from the commandment of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.
Choose one of the Love One Another verses to memorize.
Lighthouses are a marvel of mankind's ingenuity. A structure that stands in some of the most remote areas, is battered by fierce storms, and yet continues to stand firm. Not only does it continue to stand but amidst the danger it continues to shine its bright light out into the darkness.
To stand firm is to make a choice not to falter, to do all you can to plant yourself where God has put you and use whatever God given talents that He has provided in order that you may get off the side lines and get into the fight. All Christians must make a decision to follow God or follow themselves. For those who follow their own desires they will falter, they will crumble in the storm, they will deviate from the path set before them just to indulge in their own selfish desires. But for those who want to stand firm, who refuse to back down, who choose to weather the storm by God's might, it will take effort. But it's worth it.
In Ephesians 6, we are taught how to successfully stand in the midst of a storm, while still letting the light of Christ shine brightly through us. But how do we stand strong even amidst the storms of life that tend to shake us? The Apostle Paul gives us a formula to stand firm, and to stay strong. Let's consider what he said...
Ephesians 6:10: Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
Ephesians 6:11: Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
Ephesians 6:12: For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
The Greek word used here for "strong" means: "power that overcomes resistance." We can be strong spiritually through the power of God's might, but we have to do get our strength through God's way and not our own. He instructs us to take on His strength by girding our spiritual understanding with the strongest spiritual armor. Notice that we are instructed to put on the whole armor of God, not just part of it, but the entire ensemble. Why is that? Because every piece is important if we are going to have spiritual victory. Think about this: if a soldier went to battle with only his helmet, would he have victory? No armor, no shield, no weapon of any kind, just his helmet. Of course he would fail. In fact he might suffer serious injury or death. All of God's armor is important.
Ephesians 6:13: Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
The expectation here is that if we had all of God's armor, and we were using it correctly then we would be doing all that we can to stand, and we will be able to stand. What is this armor made up of and how do I use it?
Ephesians 6:14: Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth...
The Belt of truth is a very important function because the belt keeps everything together- it is at the main point of the armor- it sits at our core- and so should God’s Word. Truth does not naturally sit at our core, we have to put it there by meditating and memorizing Scripture, which makes the Belt of truth the Spiritual Discipline of Meditation and Memorization of Scripture. The Belt of truth functions by knowing the truth, never letting it go, and proclaiming it. When Satan and our flesh attacks us spiritually, we need to fight back using the truth of God's Word. When we are encouraging others and sharing the gospel we should be doing so while using the truth of God's Word. Now, we are going to need to use God’s Word in several functions of our armor which is why it is very important that we not only learn the Scripture, but we take the necessary time to apply it. If we want to Stand Firm in our Christian walk, we must begin with God's truth.
Ephesians 6:14: ...having put on the breastplate of righteousness.
The Breastplate of Righteousness is the Spiritual Discipline of Learning and Applying God’s truths. We are not automatically godly because we become Christians. Righteousness comes from learning God’s truths and applying them to our lives so that we live them out on a day to day basis. We must build our foundation on God's truth so that when trials come we can face them through His Word. Our battles should not be fought with our feelings, they should be fought with the truth of God's Holy Word.
Ephesians 6:15: and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace.
The Sandals of the Gospel of Peace is the Spiritual Discipline of Obedience. These sandals are the gospel- now, when you leave the house you typically put on shoes or sandals- you don’t go out barefoot- you need something on your feet to carry you to other places. Your footwear will bring you some protection, they offer you the right tread to take you on the right path that God has set before you. God sets our path. We do not need to fear the path before us and the more that we get to know our Great God, the less that we will fear the unknown path that He is providing, even when we cannot see what is coming.
Ephesians 6:16: above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.
The Shield of Faith is the Spiritual Discipline of Faith. Faith is linked to trust. I can say that I trust in God, but if I refuse to obey Him, I really do not have any faith in Him.
Hebrews 11:1: Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
We have faith that our beds will hold us up when we plop in them at the end of our day- we have so much faith that we don’t even think about it. We just serenely climb under the covers and assume, by faith, that our bed will not collapse to the floor.
We have to have faith in Jesus Christ that He is the Son of God and that He has forgiven us of our sins, and has the ability to cleanse us from our sins in order to have salvation. But for many of us Christians that’s where our faith stops- we really do not have faith that God can bring us out of our battles unscathed- we tend to be weak in our faith because we have not put our faith in God truly into practice.
Ephesians 6:17: And take the helmet of salvation…
The Helmet of Salvation is the Spiritual Discipline of Sanctification or we might say “Change.” Change is linked to Faith, Trust, and Obedience. Change is something that should always be happening in the life of the Christian- and we tend to fight God over it because we so often get settled in our ways- but we only fight God when we are not learning about the depths of His love and His goodness.
Again, if we have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior than we have Salvation and when we are saved we are initially changed by the Holy Spirit through the process of Sanctification- but over time the more that we learn of God and the more opportunities that we have to go through trials and have victory in them and learn from them the more we are Sanctified and changed to be more like our Savior, Jesus Christ.
We may not be making that change within us, but we have to allow God to make that change and be open for our lives to be different. The reality is that when this change happens we may need to go back into our Christian lives and unlearn some bad habits and instead learn some new practices that will help us to grow more- this is following though with our change.
Ephesians 6:17: ...and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
The Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. This is the Spiritual Discipline of Memorization and Vocalization. We are still learning the truth of God’s Word like we do when we are putting on the Belt of Truth- but we are applying it differently. With the belt we are taking in God’s Word internally- to protect us at our core- and with the Sword we are taking what we have learned- what we have memorized in our core and using it in battle to fight back our enemy. We are speaking it in our heart, in our mind, and even out loud to combat those who speak against the truth. There will be times when we need to remind ourselves what God's Word says, and there will be times when we need to remind others.
If we do not know our Bibles- we will not be able to use God’s Word to fight in our battles against the forces of evil- and in everything if we want to win- we MUST use God’s Word! As we are actively engaging in the Spiritual Discipline of Meditation we will naturally take in and memorize God’s Word but we also need to learn and apply using it in a manner where we are fighting back with it. Even educating people with God’s Word- and sharing the gospel with those who have never heard of it.
Remember, the Holy Spirit uses God’s Word to convict the hearts of others- we can tell people stories about Jesus and people of the Bible all day but there is nothing in it unless we give them Scripture- God’s Word is the necessary fire power to fight back our enemy and keep him at bay. God has given us the tools to win in battle, we just need to use them the way that He designed.
But how do we use them?
Ephesians 6:18: praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.
Notice that though this is not an aspect of the armor, Paul makes it clear to us that in order to win the battle you must apply prayer. Prayer is a Spiritual Discipline. You must pray through all of your Spiritual Disciplines in order for it to bind together and work as it is designed.
Each one of these Spiritual Disciplines co-inside with each other. We need the Spiritual Discipline of Meditation, through the Belt of Truth to help us learn more about our Master so that we can face the battle and be fearless.
We need the Spiritual Discipline of Learning or Application in order for us to really understand how to use the tools that God has provided us- this allows us to put into practice what we are being taught. No soldier goes into battle without practicing his training- and by putting on the Breastplate of Righteousness we are putting that practical training to use- we are taking what we have considered from the Belt of Truth and really learning and applying it.
We need the Spiritual Discipline of Obedience as we slip on our Sandals of the Gospel of Peace. Without the Sandals, we are not making it far on the path that God has set us on- not even through the battle field. Through Obedience we take what we have applied and go out with it to wherever God wants us to take it.
We need the Spiritual Discipline of Faith so that we have a way to Shield and defend ourselves when our enemy strikes. Without a solid Faith and trust in our Protector all of our other Spiritual Disciplines fall apart. But with a solid Faith, our disciplines come together and grow making our Spiritual Foundation so much stronger.
We need the Spiritual Discipline of Sanctification so that we can be getting better in our battles. If we never change, than we never improve- our Helmet of Salvation may protect us from being ultimately destroyed- but we are not looking to simply survive- we are looking to be victorious!
We need the Spiritual Discipline of Memorization and Vocalization in order to wield our Sword of the Spirit and have something to be able to combat our enemy. When we fight our battles we do not just want to defend we want to be able to fight back as well. We are taking so much in with our other disciplines- through using our Sword we have the opportunity to share what the Lord has taught us and what He is currently doing within us.
And then we need the Spiritual Discipline of Prayer from the very beginning of our battles to the very end and every bit in-between.
This is putting on the WHOLE Armor of God.
This will take time. It will take effort. It will take practice. It will take change. And it will take real discipline. But if you take your Spiritual Disciplines seriously it will change your entire life in very positive and enormous ways!
What happens to us Spiritually affects what happens to us physically and mentally. If we want to win this battle in life- if we want to one day stand before God and hear Him say: “Well done thou Good and Faithful Servant” -it starts right here with how we are using our Spiritual Disciplines.
God has called us not just to go to battle but to go to the battle with every piece of armor on so that we can stand when the enemy is shooting us with arrows and not give up. God's perfect armor will protect us so that we can continue to STAND FIRM.