1 Corinthians 9:24 – Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.
Hebrews 12:1 – Therefore…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.
According to these two bible verses, God wants for us to run the race He has set for us. He wants for us to arrive to the destination. And to do that, we must not continue in a life of sin. But do you tend to “miss the mark”? In other words, do you often “sin”?
In order for me not to sin, I first must know what sin means. I was surprised to find out that the word that we translate in the bible as “sin” comes from the Greek word “hamartia”. It literally means “to miss the mark.” Back in the day, the judges at archer competitions would actually yell “sin” when an archer missed the bulls-eye. So what is meant by this word is that when you sin, you have “missed the mark”. The dartboard, the bulls-eye is set by God. When someone asks if you are sinning, they should be meaning to ask, “Are you missing the mark that God has set for you in this particular situation?”
This concept makes me think of driving down the street. There are lanes that you have to drive inside of in order to be in accordance with the law. You can’t be driving in the middle lane AND the fast lane simultaneously by straddling on top the white dashed line in the street. You can’t driving in the lane of oncoming traffic. You can’t drive on the median. You can’t drive on the sidewalk. You have to stay in one lane at a time, especially when there are other cars on the street with you. In this case, your mark is to stay inside the lane. But you’re not just staying in your lane for the sake of staying in your lane. You’re staying in lane because you understand that when you do not stay in your lane, you can cause accidents, traffic tickets, or even death to yourself or others on the road. You’re staying in your lane because you know that you CANNOT make it to your destination otherwise. Road lanes lead to destinations. So staying in your lane is imperative to hitting the mark. You can’t make it from Memphis to Nashville by veering into oncoming traffic. You can’t make it from Memphis to Nashville if the police have arrested you and suspended your license because you were speeding while dangerously switching lanes. You can’t make it from Memphis to Nashville if you have wrecked your vehicle. In order to hit your mark of “Nashville” you will have to make it your business to STAY IN YOUR LANE.
But you cannot stay in your lane if you do not keep readjusting your steering wheel to a certain angle. Because of the many curves and turns in roads, you will eventually go off into another lane or a ditch if you do not CONSTANTLY monitor your steering wheel. For example, if your front wheels are bent at a 45 degree angle, you will surely veer into the next lane and SOON. But even if your car alignment is off by even ONE degree, you will slowly, but surely, go off into the next lane. You will miss the mark. It’s not enough to set your steering wheel at a certain direction or angle one time at the beginning of the journey; you have to continuously realign or reposition yourself in order to stay on track. As Christians, it’s not enough to start well and then forget that you are on a Christian journey. You must watch yourself daily to make sure you are on the right track just as you must constantly have your hand on the steering wheel in order to be safe from leaving your lane and avoiding the dangers that entails.
Hebrews 3:12-14 – TAKE HEED, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in DEPARTING from the living God. But exhort one another DAILY, while it is called TO DAY; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of SIN. For we are made partakers of Christ, IF we hold the BEGINNING of our confidence STEDFAST unto the END
Likewise with archers and marksmen; if they do not keep that bow or weapon at a well-set angle, they will miss the mark. They will not get the bull’s-eye or hit the target they want. Likewise, God has a destination for each of us. If we are off by one degree, we will eventually miss the mark.
So walk the path God has set for you.
I Peter 4:18 – And, “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”
Matthew 7:14 – But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
It used to help me sometimes to envision myself walking down a very narrow path. I would imagine myself in the woods with this beaten path I have to make sure to keep my feet on. To the left, there’s a cute guy dude who’s trying to ask for my phone number just so that he can have sex with me. To my right is a party I really want to go to that I know will lead me astray from the path. Further down to my left is a girl talking crazy to me that I might want to fight. On down to my right is a shot of Vodka. To my left further ahead is a marijuana blunt. But I have to keep my eyes on the prize like Dorothy on the yellow brick road trying to get back home to Kansas. But instead of Kansas, I’m actually headed to my heavenly home with Jesus. And the yellow brick road is my life. There are temptations to the left and right on my yellow brick road. They are distractions – some demonic, but some just my flesh’s lusts. Either way, they will take me nowhere slowly or nowhere quickly. So I must ignore them and keep my feet on the beaten path. There is too much at stake!
Psalm 119:101 – I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word.
Along the way on the yellow brick road, I see people who are seriously considering becoming Christians. They just need to see a good example. They saw so many others on the beaten path who were led astray by lusts. They saw some who almost made it to the end, but who backslid or who left the faith altogether. So they feel discouraged about the Christian walk. But when they see a young lady like me who can ignore the temptations and keep my eye on the prize, they feel all the more encouraged to join me on my walk to a most worthwhile destination. I see that I’m not just walking this path for myself. I’m walking it for others! It’s my Christian duty. Yes, sometimes I get off of the path, but I always get back on. The Holy Ghost is keeping me.
Galatians 5:7-9 – Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.
So remember that the next time you hear the words “sin, sinned, sinning, sinful, sinner” it is supposed to be referring to you not hitting the mark. I don’t believe God’s expecting us never to make another mistake. I don’t believe He’s expecting us to be flawless people. I’ve heard it said that He wants us to “sin less” as opposed to being “sinless”, but either way, I believe He wants us to hit the bull’s-eye. We can’t do it in our own strength/flesh though; we need the help of the Holy Ghost to help us do right. We need to continue to fast and pray for God’s help. We need to continue to read our bible so that they can be reminders of what God expects of us. We need to surround ourselves with others who are walking the same path. You can’t rely on flesh to help you to stop doing fleshly things. You can’t rely on flesh to help you to do spiritual things. You have to rely on the spirit and spiritually strong people to help you to do spiritual things. Confess of the times you missed the mark for God. And then ask God to forgive you. Then ask the Holy Ghost to correct and steady your aim and to help you hit bull’s-eye from now on out!