This summer I had the sweet opportunity to learn from a speaker (either a church planter or pastor) every Friday morning for a teaching. From each of these teachings I learned more about what it looks like to live on mission, how to contextualize the gospel in the context of biblical community, and how as the family of God we reveal the glory of God to others. One of the speakers a few weeks into the internship said something I haven’t forgotten, “run to the tension.” It soon became our groups motto as we ran into the tension of starting relationships, pressing those relationships further, and learning how to bring to the Lord other fears and insecurities that came along with those things. But we don’t run to the tension because it is easy, we run into the tension because even though “we labor and strive” (1 Timothy 4:10) we get to press into the prize- Jesus.
As we live life on mission for Him and as we realize how hard that can be sometimes- we press into Him. As we admit we are nothing without Him- we press into Him. As we humble ourselves to His will and acknowledge He is sovereign and He knows best we press into Him. We press into Jesus who is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8.) Our sweet prize is knowing Him and being known by Him and it radically affects our hearts, our lives, and the paths we are walking. On the days we get discouraged, overwhelmed, and start feeling insufficient we can remember the tension is worth the Prize.
The gospel is offensive, no doubt. It says that you are broken, apart from God, and no works could justify you. But it is the most loving offense because the gospel also says that despite all of those things, Jesus made a way for you. A way to be whole, with God, and a way only Jesus by His grace could provide. He is the prize we absolutely don’t deserve, the prize we’ve done nothing for, and the Prize we get the joy of pressing into all of our lives until we are present with Him in heaven. And so believing in Him, living your life for Him, running in to the tension for Him is worth it. It is beautiful. It is humbling and sanctifying and redeeming and restoring. For me, it is worth sharing and worth rejoicing in - a race worth running and a Prize worth pressing into.
“Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured a cross and despised the shame and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne.”