"The Race Isn't Over"Galatians 5:7
You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth?
Thoughts for Today:Mary Decker Slaney was perhaps America's greatest middle distance runner of all time. She is the only athlete to hold every American record from 800 meters to 10,000 meters. Her greatest international achievement came at the 1983 inaugural World Championships in Helsinki, where she won the 1500 and 3000 meters -- a feat that would become known as the "Decker Double" and helped earn her the title of Sports Illustrated Sportswoman of the Year for 1983. A year earlier, she set world records in the mile, 2000m, 3000m indoors, 5000m and 10,000m (her first race at that distance), and won the AAU Sullivan Award as the top amateur athlete in the country.
In addition to being one of the greatest female runners in track history, Mary Decker Slaney was perhaps the unluckiest. She never won an Olympic medal. In the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics she was favored to win the gold in the 3000 meters, but instead collided with a young, inexperienced barefoot runner from South Africa, Zola Budd, who cut her off. Decker Slaney fell on the infield, injured her hip and could not resume the race.
In our passage today, Paul references a race as well -- one in which the runner was also cut off with potentially devastating consequences. Yet, he is not speaking of an actual foot race. The Galatians had been running well spiritually -- but then they had allowed the legalists to cut into their lane, cause them to stumble and discourage their freedom in Christ. Paul was concerned that if they did not recover quickly (refocusing upon and obeying the truth) they would soon fall and become disqualified from the race.
Questions to Ponder:I attended the 1984 Olympics and what happened in Mary Decker Slaney's race was extraordinarily difficult to watch. Expectations and dreams were shattered. She seemed to be such a lock to win the gold medal, and just when it was within her grasp, disaster struck. It's a good lesson for all of us. In your spiritual walk, is anyone cutting in on you "to keep you from obeying the truth?" Are you being negatively influenced in any way? How can you correct your stumble and get back on the right course and finish the race?