Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Faith on the Frontstretch: Are you ready for random testing?

Photo by Beth Bence Reinke
“...and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Hebrews 12:1b

The racing world is abuzz with talk of random drug testing. One big question people are asking is: Could a contaminated supplement cause a positive test result?

We know a food can be accidentally contaminated with an ingredient used to make a different product. You’ve probably read a label on a chocolate bar that states, “manufactured in a facility that also processes peanuts.” So if the machines aren’t cleaned immaculately, a trace of nut could get into a supposedly “nut-free” batch of chocolate. And in a person with peanut allergies, that smidgen is enough to cause a full blown allergic reaction – which is sort of like a positive test result.

Candy and supplements aside, a bigger question relates to contamination in our lives. Think about what “random testing” of our lives might show. Maybe a tidbit of gossip shared with a friend? An immoral thought when an attractive coworker walks by? Mostly truth contaminated with a white lie or two?

Folks, we think of ourselves as decent people, but the truth is, we start “contaminating our sample” the moment we wake up each day. If any of our lives were subjected to a random test looking for impurities, we would test positive - every one of us, simply because human beings are imperfect.

But no worries, there is hope. Instead of being suspended indefinitely, you and I can be reinstated in good standing. That’s right; God gives us a way out!

One scripture verse says “there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ.” (Romans 8:1) That verse has a weird sound to it, but its meaning is pretty simple when we break it down. “There is no condemnation” means there’s no punishment. The last part, “in Christ,” describes anyone who believes in Jesus.

So it means God doesn’t punish anyone who believes Jesus died for his or her sins. Instead, He freely forgives.

When you believe in Jesus, every wrong thought, word or action can be forgiven. No matter how positive your sample tests for banned substances such as envy, greed, lust or any other sins, God can make it clean again. All you have to do is believe in Jesus as your Savior and ask God to forgive you.

Being forgiven feels amazing, like an overwhelming feeling of relief. Have you ever been speeding, and see flashing lights in your rearview mirror? Your heart starts to pound. You cringe at how much the citation is going to cost. Then to your amazement, the officer only gives you a warning, not a ticket!

That’s what being forgiven feels like, that breathe-all-your-air-out sense of peace and gratefulness. Your wrong-doing was overlooked and you were granted mercy.

The NASCAR rule book outlines a “zero tolerance” policy in drug testing, and with good reason. Any driver taking illegal substances could place pit crews, officials and fellow drivers in danger.

Likewise, the rotten stuff we do can hurt people, too. But thank goodness God is merciful. No matter what our shortcomings, all we have to do to be reinstated is ask for forgiveness.

If your name was called for random testing today, would you be ready with a clean sample? The only way to be sure is to acknowledge that Jesus died for your sins and ask Him to be your personal Savior.

“Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. ~ Acts 13:38 
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Want more racing devotions? When you donate $25 or more to Skirts and Scuffs, we’ll send you a complimentary copy of Beth’s book, Race Fans’ Devotions to Go, a month-long, pocket-sized devotional book for female racing fans.

“Faith on the Frontstretch” appears every 1st & 3rd Wednesday and explores the role of faith in motorsports. Beth also writes “Gibbs Garage,” Sprint Cup race recaps for Joe Gibbs Racing teams. Comments or twitter follows welcome: @bbreinke. See you on the Frontstretch!

7 comments :

"So it means God doesn’t punish anyone who believes Jesus died for his or her sins. Instead, He freely forgives."

I'm a little confused by your post. God DOES punish His children. The Bible is full of examples. Without doing a search and just going from memory, I can list a bunch. 1. Adam and Eve: lost their home and life on earth 2. Lot's wife: pillar of salt, dead 3. Miriam, Moses sister: unlawfully doing worship 4. Samson: died over giving up secret of long hair 5. Moses: stuck in the desert for 40 years of wondering,bad temper was denied entering the promised land 6. David: adultery, son died and violence could not build the Temple. etc.

God does not intend for Christian followers to get a free pass while on earth. What God does is forgive out sins as our heavenly Father and assures us of eternal life in Heaven - not earth. The Bible tells us that our righteousness is like filthy rags (Isa. 64:6). None of us can live up to His standards, we try and faithfully ask for forgivness every day. If we could be righteous on our own, then Jesus died for nothing (Gal 2:21).

Thank you so much for reading. I appreciate you taking the time for share your thoughts.

Yes, you are right, God did punish those people in the Old Testament. But then God sent His Son, Jesus to take the punishment, once and for all, for all the sins of humankind. And when we sin now, there may be bad consequences of that sin that we cannot escape, which some believe is a form of punishment.

But anyone who believes in Jesus as his or her Savior can ask for forgiveness, receive it, and be made clean. If that was untrue, then Jesus would have died for nothing.

And, you're right, we don't get a free pass on earth, nor are we righteous on our own. I tried to make clear that we are all sinful, with "contaminated samples." But in a short blog post, I try to stick to one main point. This time the focus is on the wonderful forgiveness of a merciful God, which so many need to hear.

There is so much negativity out there, and my goal is to share the love of God so that folks will be drawn to Him. When we accept Jesus and realize what a wonderful gift He has given us, our hearts can be changed and we will WANT to do what is right.

God's blessings to you and to everyone who stops by.
Beth

Dear Beth,

Thanks so much for your reply. I went back and re-read my post. Boy, I did not mean to sound so tough! Sorry.

I think what probably influenced my thread was the first part of your post. It almost seemed like it was an excuse for AJ. (All that talk of accidental contamination) I like him from what I see, but his actions make me think his test was positive for a reason. (He has not talked to the media, not disclosed the actual drug, what he thinks he might have mistakenly taken.)

I guess my belief is we don't accidentally sin. So the analogy did not work for me.

Thanks for your sweet response. What you do is a blessing.
Cindi

Hmm, I see your point, Cindi. Like you, I don't think we accidentally sin. But I do think accidental contamination is possible and of course, time will tell on this particular case.

No worries about your post - a friendly debate is always welcome. ";o) And I really appreciate you taking time to read our work here at Skirts and Scuffs.

Beth

I like the analogy as well, Beth and thank u for sharing. I hsve struggled w/faith for years and agree we do sometimes accidentaaly sin but those times are fewer than intentional sins. By no means are any of us perfect but as an optimist, I hope we all mean to live a good life and strive for 'perfection'. TY for sharing your faith. I hope you will include me in your prayers.

I will be honored to pray for you. Feel free to contact me with any specific requests, maybe with a twitter DM. :o) Faith is a wonderful thing and can constantly grow and change as we do. The best thing is knowing how much God loves us and cares about every detail of our lives. He's the best!

Thank you for reading and commenting. (((hugs)))
Beth

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