On occasion I stop and reflect on the recent past. I take some time and look back at the steps I have taken. I ask myself; do I see God’s presence in those decisions? Have I made the choices that honor God? Am I following where God is leading me? How is your race going? Are you living your life in such a way as to honor God? Are we winning? Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
In racing only one car receives the checkered flag signifying the winner. Many run with the goal of winning, but there is only one who receives the prize. Life is like a race and each one of us must run in such a way as to win. Not for the prize we receive here but for the reward of eternal life with God in Heaven.
What does it take to win? Many say it is luck, everything has to be right and then the cards have to fall your way. I think God’s Word has some direction for us in that regard. Paul writes that first we must prepare then run according to the rules. To prepare and run in a way that is against the rules disqualifies us for the prize.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27; 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. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
Paul talks about the discipline we must have to qualify for the prize. As we train for and run the race there will be many choices we have to make. How we decide will ultimately determine if we qualify for the prize.
Let’s look at this way. What if life becomes a foot race. Instead of walking through life we now have to run. How many could? I suspect not many. We haven’t prepared to run the race that way. And putting forth the effort to prepare for that may just cause us to choose a different path.
You see, even the race we choose to run is a decision. Some of us choose to run the rat race. We get caught up in all the things of this world and run a race that doesn’t qualify us for a heavenly home. We need to choose to run the right race. Jesus said;
Matthew 6:19-21; “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Jesus meant that we have a choice about the things we pursue in our lives. We can pursue the temporary things that fade and pass away or we can pursue the eternal things, the things that will remain with us forever.
At the end of his life Paul talked about the race he had run;
2Timothy 4:7-8; I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store 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 longed for his appearing.
Paul taught many how to run the race in a way that honors God. He also was an example to many on how to live a life that honors God. He had kept the faith.
Who taught us how to run the race? Who is responsible for our understanding and knowledge of God? Who is following our example, good or bad?
We all need to be committed to running the race in a way as to win. Not only do we need to learn what that is, we also need to model it for others to follow. Victory comes when we receive the sacrifice Christ made on the cross for us.
The writer of Hebrews leaves us with these instructions;
Hebrews 12:1-3; Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, 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. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Prepare for and run the race in such a way as to win! Do not run the wrong race; choose the right way, the way that leads to the cross. Run in such a way as to qualify for the prize.
“Run the race in such a way as to win, throw off everything that hinders and focus on Jesus!”