by Kerry Shook
“Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win!” 1 Corinthians 9:24 (NLT)
God has a race marked out for you. When you come to Christ, you don’t sit in the stands and watch others run. The Christian life is like a race. Faith is more than an attitude. It’s an attitude that leads us to action. How well are you running your race? God wants us to run to win! He has an eternal prize awaiting those who run their race well. We are to run with purpose in every step. That takes discipline and training.
How can we run to win? The writer of Hebrews gives us some running tips that will prepare us and motivate us in our race. Running is as much mental as it is physical. If you’ve ever run a marathon you know what I’m talking about. You start out well and you’re running strong. Then you hit a wall where your body begins to challenge you! When you hit the wall in your spiritual race here are three things to keep in mind.
1. Look to those who have run before you. The writer of Hebrews describes them like a great cloud of witnesses that have gone before us in their race. They’ve finished their race and their lives encourage us to finish ours as well! Isaac Newton, who was widely recognized as one of the most influential scientists of all time said, “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” If you will consider those who have gone on before you and ran their race well, it will encourage you to run your race to win!
2. Look to those who are running beside you. In verse 15 of Hebrews 12, the Bible says, “Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. …” When you’re running with a large crowd it’s easy to get tripped up or stumble. If we’re looking out for others running alongside us, we can help each other up. The Scripture says, “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (NLT)
3. Look to those who will run after you. The Christian race is a relay race. We’re not running alone, and our success depends on how well we run with others. The most important part of a relay race is when you pass the baton to the next runner. You can be ahead and still lose the race if you drop the baton. The Psalmist said, “We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the LORD, about His power and His mighty wonders. … so the next generation might know them – even the children not yet born and they in turn will teach their own children. So each generation should set its hope anew on God, not forgetting His glorious miracles and obeying His commands.” Psalm 78:4-7 (NLT) If we want to win our race, we need to consider those who have gone before us, those who are running alongside of us and those who are coming after us. Paul said, “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 9:25 (NLT)