CHRISTIANS LIKE all human beings tend to forget, be distracted, discouraged or go astray from the path shown them to pursue. For this reason, they need exhortation, encouragement, direction and guidance. It is in the spirit of this ministry that Paul, the apostle, writes to the church in Corinth as presented below:
“Don't you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So RUN TO WIN! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it TO WIN A PRIZE that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize.” (1 Corinthians 9: 24- 25)
Pastor Matthew Ashimolowo, senior Pastor of Kingsway International Christian Centre (KICC) in London calls his television broadcast, “Winning Ways.” Pastor David Quansah, senior Pastor of Mid-Country Chapel International in Kumasi a few years preached a sermon entitled, “Winning Always.” I should not forget “Winners Chapel” a great charismatic church led by Dr. David Oyedepo with its headquarters in Nigeria.
Interestingly, most Christians generally subscribe to the saying that, “winners never quit, quitters never win.” Winning is a word which is commonly confessed by Christians particularly when they are faced with life's challenges or trials and temptations. As a matter of fact, even non-Christians also confess winning. Who wants to lose?
During elections, each presidential candidate expresses optimism of winning even when voters are in queues to cast their ballot. On most election days, leading political parties begin to assure their supporters of winning even when the Electoral Commission has not collated the results. In Ghana, this is commonly done by both New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
Now, let me now ask you a question. Are you winning an eternal prize in Christ? Are you winning the race set before you? Life here on earth is full of competitions. Let me narrow the discussion to say that life in this world involves two main races on two major roads – the road to heaven and the road to hell. Each one of us needs to be aware of this reality and know the one we are actually travelling on.
You may not see it now until after your death.
Contact Bishop James Saah of Action Chapel International and he will quote John 11:25 and teach you that this earth on which we live is not the land of the living as we have been made to believe.
Rather, it is the land of the dead. We actually live hear shortly and die and continue living eternally in another world which cannot be seen with our physical eyes.
You must understand that your body dies on earth but your soul which is a spirit being lives on. Your soul will be saved and rest in a peaceful heavenly dwelling of God if you have sincerely believed in the sacrificial blood which the Lord Jesus Christ shed for the remission of the sins of the world. But a person who rejected Christ and mocked His death and resurrection will have his soul suffer eternal destruction.
This is why the gospel of Jesus Christ is being preached all over the world through various media – newspapers, magazines, television, radio, Internet and face to face interactions. People who believe their messages and are baptized shall be saved on the day of redemption.
In proclaiming the gospel of salvation, preachers speak of two gates – narrow and wide gates – which talk about two separate ways of life each one of us may choose to live. However, the preachers command people to enter by the narrow gate.
“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matthew 7: 13- 14).
Dear reader, on which of these roads are you travelling currently? Who are you following, the Lord Jesus Christ or the devil? Exactly, where will your soul be should you leave this world right now? Paul, the apostle, a man of faith we all cherish knew where he was going before his death. He died knowing the prize he would win. What about us?
“For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing” (2 Timothy 4: 6- 8).
As Christians, we must learn from the believers especially the ministers of the Early Church.
Timothy, a young preacher of the Early Church who was fathered in the Lord by Paul learnt from him. I believe Timothy did not only learn Paul's teaching but also his conduct, aim in life, faith, patience, love, steadfastness, persecutions and sufferings (2 Timothy 3: 10- 11).
We must also learn from their determination and endurance in walking the narrow gate to eternal glory. We can even learn from the fortitude of politicians who patiently fight to win political power to enjoy life for four years in government. As children of God, we must continue to learn. We must examine our hearts to see if indeed we are winning our prizes in heaven.
A Christian who is winning will know it. He will have assurance of salvation in his heart. The Bible says the Holy Spirit bears witness with your spirit that you are a child of God (Romans 8: 16). And if you are a child of God, then you are in Christ with whom you cannot be condemned (Romans 8: 1).
Moreover, we also know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? “Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, the idolaters, nor adulterers, nor thieves, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6: 9- 10).
By James Quansah