If there are many races to run in life, which is the most important race to win?
"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, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith." Hebrews 12:1,2a NIV
Everyone is in a race. It is called the race of life. Some race against time by trying to fit 26 hours into a 24-hour day. Others race against peers by trying to get ahead of everyone else while sometimes ignoring the cost and fallout. There are even those who choose not to acknowledge there is a race. They call it the rat race and are so laid back that they just believe whoever wins will win. Still others race to accumulate stuff. They make having possessions the key to them winning. They live by the saying “Boys will be boys…and whoever gets the most toys, wins”. However, there is a race which distinguishes itself from all the other races. THE MOST IMPORTANT RACE YOU WILL EVER RUN is identified in the Bible. The Hebrew writer identifies this race in the above Scripture passage.
How are you doing in your life race? Have you decided which is the most important race for you to run?
Everyone runs for someone or something. In the Olympics, every athlete represents a country. The runner proudly wears the name and colors representing their country. In the world rat race, every person represents himself, the devil, or Jesus Christ. The Bible directs everyone to run for Jesus Christ, as the Hebrew writer emphasized in the above Scripture text. “Strip down, start running-and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it.” [Hebrews 12:1,2a, The Message]
God has a race marked out for you. The Bible says he has numbered your days and has a wonderful plan for you to follow. God knows the best course for your life. He knows the turns and twists as well as the hills and valleys. Jesus wants you to run for Him by taking the name “Christian.”
Everyone running determines the length of the race he/she will enter. In the Olympics, you have short- or long-distance runs. Everyone who runs for Jesus Christ enters himself in a life- long race. It is a test of faith in this world. The race God marks out begins at conversion and ends in heaven. Hebrews 10:23 states, “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”
How are you doing in your race? Are you steadily running, moving ahead, or falling behind? Are you keeping your eyes fixed on Jesus Who has already run and won?
Everyone who runs for Jesus faces stiff competition. The obstacles in the race are enormous. The Bible says, “Do not love the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world.” [1 John 2:15,16] Sinful cravings, lust and boastful pride bombard you every day. In addition, every runner faces fierce running competitors. Ephesians 6:12 clearly states, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
Your race is not easy, and your competition does not want you to win the heavenly prize. Are you keeping your eyes on the prize? Someday you will see your Savior, Jesus Christ, face to face and stroll the streets of heaven.
Everyone running is encouraged by spectators. During the Olympics, every competitor is viewed by thousands of spectators sitting in the grandstands and millions of spectators watching on television. They cheer and holler for their favorite runners. In the world, every Christian is watched by Jesus and perhaps some heavenly spectators. Every believer is empowered by the Holy Spirit to run strong and run steady.
Check out Hebrews 11 to see all those who have run the same race you are running. They are examples of encouragement that the race you are running is “winnable.” Deciding to grow in your personal faith and relationship with Jesus will make you not just a runner but a winner. At times, the race will be tough. Sometimes it will be uphill, but it will be worth it. Eternal life is received.
SOMETHING TO DO
Is there anything hindering you or any sin that is entangling you which is causing you not to run your best for Jesus? Read 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 to see your need for self-discipline.
SOUL TIME PRAYER
Lord Jesus Christ, I am focusing my eyes on You. Someday I so look forward to seeing You face to face and spending eternity with You in heaven. Until then, show me when I may be allowing things into my life that prohibit me from running a strong race which will bring glory and honor to You, my Savior and Lord. AMEN