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Pushed Off The Track

Galatians 5:7-8
You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth? That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. (NIVUK)

Athletic events were an important part of Greek and Roman cultural life. Field and track events were well known, and stadia were marked out to set the limits of the competition. So Paul used the illustration of a runner who had been doing well but was then pushed off the track by somebody else. The runner represented the Christian, the track was the Christian way of life following Jesus, and the aggressive competitor would have been a false teacher, probably someone who demanded that all Christians should be circumcised.
Paul said that whoever had obstructed them was not the ‘race official’ (Jesus starts us in the Christian race and is waiting for us at the end as in Hebrews 12:2). No, the person who had distracted them was a malicious cheat who was trying to get them to take the wrong track so that they would fail to reach the finish.
There are many people who will try to make us divert away from running towards Jesus, or who will try to persuade us that we are on the wrong track. Others are quite aggressive and try to force us to abandon Jesus. Whatever their motivation, they are pawns in Satan’s hand, even if they do not know it. We should not be so naïve. Sometimes the pressure to wander off the track even comes from within us. Let us recognise every attempt to push us off the Jesus-track is not motivated by Jesus or a love for Him; and so let us ask for His help and be even more determined to trust and obey Him.

Dear Lord God. Thank You that Jesus has started me in the Christian life, and that He waits for me to complete the course. I am sorry when I have allowed myself to be pushed off the track, or have wandered off it myself. Please help me to remember the way I started with Jesus and help me to resist the pressures to deviate from trusting Jesus alone. In His Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams