Have you ever ran a race?
As a child maybe you raced with your friends to see who was fastest. Maybe you ran track in high school, or even a marathon as an adult. In any case, the goal of running was to finish the race and try your best to win. The winner was not always the fastest, but the one with the most stamina. The one fastest off the line may not be the winner if they cannot maintain their speed throughout the race. It’s the one who paces their run for the length of the event. It’s the one who knows there will be difficult terrain ahead – tough climbs up steep hills, intense straightaways beneath the blazing sun, and even obstacles to avoid in their path. A well-trained athlete is prepared for these things and has conditioned his body to push through the hard times to achieve the goal – finishing and winning the race.
In the bible our Christian walk is compared to a race and there are two types of runners. Those who quit and those who finish.
When we’ve accepted Christ into our lives the starting horn sounds, signaling the beginning of the race. Some jump off the line quickly and seem very strong runners, only to fall away, lacking the endurance required to finish. Others will burden themselves with useless accessories, man-made rules and doctrines, that hinder their run, eventually causing them to quit. Some will burn out because they are starving spiritually, not spending time in the word or with the Lord.
“You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth?” (Galatians 5:7 NIV)
There are some,however, who will run the race with patience and endurance. They will experience times of great difficulty and may even want to quit – but they refuse. Sometimes their run slows to nearly a crawl but they are determined to cross the finish line. They are strong. They are confident. They are winners.
“I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong…”(Ecclesiastes 9:11a NIV)
If you accepted Christ today, last month, or twenty years ago, you are in the race and this race will be won by those who persevere. It is your choice to run or to join the crowd. The crowd is full of people who love to watch the race – who love what the race is about – but are not willing to give what it takes to train and run. They witness other people’s victories, but will never experience it personally. What about you, are you willing? Will you push through the pain and exhaustion? Will you persevere knowing that at the finish line, the run will be worth it?
“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,” (Hebrews 12:1 NIV)”
Sometimes it’s a hard run. When you feel like you can’t go on, remember you are not alone, you have a cloud of witnesses who have run before you and they are cheering you on: “Don’t give up!” they say. “Keep going, you can make it!” They are our fans, they are those who have run and finished. Let’s not let them down!
On your mark.