Running the Race

Have you ever done something without thinking about it?  You just decide one day this is what you need to do and then go for it.


I have never been a runner.  I never even liked being around a track for any reason whatsoever, let alone run.  However, I am in a race and now I must prepare myself for this race and utilize every means necessary to carry on and finish the race.


First, I needed to register for the race.  I needed to step up and then decide to run.  It was not an easy decision to make at first.  On the physical side of things, I am quite a bit out of shape, but that did not initially discourage me.  It was the health of my spiritual needs that I needed to be more focused on.  I needed to get back on track with God, so I made the choice to do so.


For some time now I have said that I want to follow Christ.  But mere words are not enough.  I need to take action in order to do so.  I needed to join the race for the Lord.


Upon reading this, some may be wondering about this race that I am referring to.  Allow me to expound on this.


In the book of Hebrews in Chapter Twelve, the author describes a race that we as Christians are to run.  In 12:1-3 it states:”And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, for fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.  For the joy set before him, he 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 sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”


What does this mean?   It means that we are to honor our Lord and just as he endured the race and suffered for us, we are to follow suit and endure the race we run no matter what obstacles stem from this, no matter how long the distance or wherever the path takes us.


One can easily ask how this applies to me.  God sets each of us on our path from the moment we were knitted in our mother’s womb.  He determines what struggles we will go through, what temptations we will encounter, and how we handle all of this.  Our whole life becomes a race from start to finish, but it is the outcome of that race that we celebrate.  When each of us crosses that finish line we then see the rewards we receive based on the outcome of the race.  We are running towards Jesus and we are celebrating his victory over death.  We are honoring him and giving glory to him by staying in the race and not giving up. We reap these rewards once we cross that finish line.


Once I was able to understand the reason behind the race, only then could I decide to run.  Now that I was a participant I needed to make a commitment to this race.  I needed to stand behind my decision to run and that meant I had to invest all of myself to be successful.  This race became my top priority.


Success for this race is not measured by how well you can defeat others.  In this race everyone who participates is a winner.  It is our determination to run, to stay on course no matter the obstacles, to endure the rigors of this race, and of course, to cross the finish line.


It may sound easy, but this is going to be the most difficult race you will ever encounter.  There will be highs and there will most definitely be lows.  Your key to success is this:  have Jesus as your frame of reference and persevere.  When my eyes are focused on Christ I run at my pace, and I just keep running.  I do not center my attention on the distance or on the obstacles that will arise along the way.  When my focus is on Christ I have all of the reassurance I need to get through this.  He is running alongside me and helping me continue on.


Our defeat emerges when we take our eyes off of Christ and focus merely on a race.  When we let our desire to compete with one another rule over us and not let love be the motivating factor.  Yes, this is a race, but it is a race we share with others.  We are not running to outdo anyone, but rather to make sure everyone is able to continue on and cross that finish line.  We work together to make one another successful by finishing this race.


Once I made the decision to run, I then signed up to enter the race.  I started off slow and took it all in.  The course is set, but I do not know what the parameters are.  I just know to run at a steady pace and to place all of my trust in God.  He will strengthen me at the appropriate times and from this I can endure whatever comes next.  He has provided support for me by him and by others in my fellowship.  I learned from this and now advise others to lean on your support system.  Let others encourage you and you should encourage others as well.  We need to support one another to make it through this race.  Always be willing to listen, be supportive and encourage others.  The world itself is a cold place and no one readily steps up to help out unless they, themselves, are a cog in the wheel of brotherly love through Christ.  Even though there are others who will not understand or support your decision to run, you need to remain true to the reason you are running.   You need to stand tall for Christ and be there for everyone.  You are glorifying God when you support others and offer words of encouragement.  .


Remember it is not how fast you run, or how swift your movements are, but rather that you ran, stood up for Christ and continued on throughout your life.  You chose to take a stand, follow it through, and cross the finish line.  It wasn’t easy, but you pressed on and you finally crossed it.  When that glorious day comes and you meet face to face with God that will be your reward.  You can smile and know you ran this race for him.  You now will have the opportunity to see him and say thank you for this life you gave me, thank you for what you did for me and thank you for always being there for me.


My final words of advice are this.  Set aside all fears, swallow your pride, and put your confidence in him.  Then begin running and never look back.  Before you know it the race will be over and you will have won it for the Lord.  Best wishes to all.

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