Preparing to Run
Today's Reading: Psalm 120-122; 1 Corinthians 9
Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. 1 Corinthians 9:24
How often do we feel as though we are running a race? Life seems to be one big race. We run from place to place to get things done, just to accomplish one more task. But what about the race of life? Some of us run from parts of our lives, some run from the past, some run towards the future, and some just run in circles. Do we ever win this race? Do we even see the finish line? What prize do we expect to receive?
Let us examine the basic components of running a physical race to help better understand the spiritual race. The first step usually involves some sort of training, which depends upon the type and length of race. Good equipment and accessories are integral parts of preparation and participation, such as clothing, shoes, and personal timing devices. Because slight dehydration can jeopardize the heartiest competitor, nutritional supplementations and liquid replacements are critical for endurance and stamina. And a final key component for any serious participant involves their own personal desire and commitment to complete the race, despite hardships and pain. One should not even consider entering a race without some of these basic necessaries.
In Hebrews 12:1, Paul says that we should "run with endurance the race that is set before us." This race is not about our physical lives, but about our spiritual lives for Christ. As Christians, we should be racing towards "the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:14), not racing for the things of this world but for the eternal prize in God's kingdom.
So how do we successfully compete in this spiritual race? Our training must involve a progressive and disciplined program that equips us with God's wisdom, knowledge and discernment. A Christian church teaching God's Word is an essential component. Other tools include reading the Bible daily accompanied with prayer. A good church, Bible reading and prayer will be used heavily during the race. These necessities are best when supplemented with Bible studies, prayer groups, and volunteer services. The most critical component that CANNOT be compromised involves our sincere desire to surrender our heart and everything in it to the Lord Jesus Christ. If we commit to these basic steps, our race will be run with the assurance of a strong finish to this earthly life.