Have you ran a race before?
What was the mentality when you decided to take part in that race?
One thing I am sure of is that no one will start a race knowing that he/she will fall out or end the race with the ‘DNF’ (Did Not Finish) title.
Well, we are all running our own individual races right now, on routes that are tailored and purposed to bring out the best in us.
This race started on the day when you and I took a step of faith to receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior.
We were set to run a race that was going to be finished gloriously, but only if we faithfully follow the training manual and be an obedient, disciplined athlete to our head coach, none other than our Heavenly Father.
This is what God desires in all of us as we run this race:
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”1 Cor 9:24-27 (NIV)
We are not going to run with a loser’s mentality.
The ultimate goal for any runner in this spiritual race is to run past the finishing line and receive the crown, an imperishable one.
We need to start the race and run with an end in mind.
It is not important how fast we run, but we need to finish, and finish well. There is neither necessity for comparison nor for competition;
We all have our own lot, our own challenges and obstacles to overcome and tackle along the way in order to make it to the end.
In our journey with Christ, it’s never just about how well we start, how awesome our salvation story was or how disastrous a past we came from.
Instead, it is the ‘working out’ of our salvation, progressive growth in our spiritual maturity, having the mentality of our character & attitude as always ‘work in progress’ and the finishing of the race with patient endurance and active persistence that marks the life of a believer.
In God’s eyes, the goal for all His children is still the same, to have put in our best effort to fulfil our destiny, to be steadfast in our faith and to finish well.
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful”2 Tim 4:7 (NIV)
Like it or not, we are going to get tired, weary, discouraged, distracted and lost.
In fact, some of us might even get disqualified (hopefully not) along the way.
Life is like a marathon – It is a long distance run, not a dash.
That is just how it is when we allegorize life as a spiritual race.
Let us examine and process how a runner functions during a marathon.
In the first 10km, it is usually the part with the most passion and energy, and it goes by like a breeze.
Then comes the next 10k, picking up pace and momentum, not as fun, but still tolerable and manageable.
Usually, it will be around this next 10km that runners start to tire, with leg cramps and little doubts of joining the DNF category setting in.
But as you come to the final 10km, it is all about your mental strength, getting all the encouragement you can get from other runners, reaping fruits from all the training put in, pressing on, persevering and pushing through the pain.
It is in the last 2km before one can declare himself/herself a rightful full marathoner, and when one experiences a sudden surge of momentum, strength and focus.
Why is that so?
Why is this final 2km or so not as dreadful as the previous 10km?
This is simply because the finishing line is near, sometimes visible from afar and the voices of a cheering crowd filling the air.
There is something about knowing that the end is near.
There is something about lasting the race while waiting upon the Lord.
There is something about finishing the race with daily renewal of strength and power.
But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up close to God as eagles mount up to the sun; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired.Isaiah 40:31 (AMPC)
We are assured that when we fix our eyes on Jesus, who is the author and perfector of our faith, we can continue this race right to the end and be a champion for Christ in the kingdom of God.
In every success we achieve, every victory we attain, every challenge we overcome, every goal we meet, every task we accomplish, we know that it comes from God and God alone, showering us with favour and grace!
Just as His word says in Psalms 62, my victory & honour comes from God.
And in every victory, our praise, honour and glory belongs to Him and Him alone because He is our source of strength, wisdom, ability and hope.
So what does it truly mean that we were designed to finish the race?
Is finishing the race a destination that we imagine on the death bed?
How do we know when we cross that line?
Paul shares that when Jesus returns for His bride, His church, the dead in Christ will rise first and then those who are still alive will be raptured together to meet Jesus in the clouds (1 Thessalonians 4:16).
Our finish line is when our allotted time on earth is up or when we get raptured to meet with Christ.
That being said, we all look forward to God saying to us, “Well done, good and faithful one!” and we need to account to God for all that has been assigned to us in His Kingdom.
God has a specific call for each of us and we are called to serve His purpose in our generation.
Above it all, our key role in each of our races is to share the good news to the lost world.
This must be our key focus and true purpose in life.
This is what we are all designed to do!
However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.Act 20:24 (NIV)
Prayer & Reflection:
- Has there been a time when you wanted to quit or give up before you finished a race, a training session or an assignment given by the Lord?
How did you overcome it?
- How is Christ being glorified when we finish what we start off?
- If life is like a marathon, which part of the race do you think you’re at now?
How do you think God wants you to live your life in relation to that?