The Fourth Grade Sack Race

April 12, 2022 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions

By Rosemary Flaaten –

I once had a first year college student tell me that everything he was learning in my class on Spiritual Formation he had learned in fourth grade Sunday School. I have to admit, for a fleeting minute, I seriously contemplated giving him a big fat “F” on his next assignment, simply for having a lousy attitude. But as I got past my self-righteousness, I wondered how often God must witness a similar attitude emanating from me.

“God, haven’t I been down this road before?”
“How much longer do I to have to put up with this cantankerous boss?”
“Why is this happening to me again?”

Life is like a spiral where we come around to the same spot with the same issues and often even with the same people. But if we allow it, that spiral will take us deeper into the issue affording us the opportunity to grow in our understanding and relationship with God and in our self-awareness. John Calvin, and a number of other writers, purported that as we come to know God we will come to know ourselves and that as we come to know ourselves more fully, our understanding of God will expand.

Our Christian walk is described by Paul as a race that we run. If we take the approach to my college friend’s statement, my response to Paul would be “I ran sack races in fourth grade, why do I need to go for a run today? After all, I’m smarter now so there must be some new way of working my muscles and training my body.” But running a race involves continual training. My race will be stunted if my present workout resembles my childhood sack race.

The exercises of spiritual formation, such as a variety of spiritual disciplines, are not new but in order to have a robust faith, we must allow the Holy Spirit to push the spiral deeper into our lives to create training that makes us more like Christ. Let us not resist the needed repetition but rather embrace it as the opportunity for maturity.

Prayer: Lord, help me to have the heart of a learner that is open to your guidance and instruction.

“…let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith…” (Hebrews 12:1-2 NIV).

About Rosemary Flaaten

As a dynamic speaker and an award winning author of "A Woman and Her Relationships" and "A Woman and Her Workplace" , Rosemary Flaaten's passion is to see people deepen their relationship with God and others. She lives in Calgary, Canada.
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