Running well is having the end in mind.
1 Corinthians 9:24 (NIV)
“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.”
Through years of running, the runner becomes familiar with terms such as ‘race day magic’, ‘off-form days’, ‘in the zone’, ‘hit the wall’ and many others which only another kindred soul of a runner will understand.
Most seasoned runners realize that the run is first and foremost a test of the mental resilience and visualization triumphs mere physical exertion.
One runs very differently when running a race or a time trial, as compared to a regular training run in the park.
The difference between the former and latter is the state of mind.
A race compels you to run your utmost in order to secure the prize or the coveted personal best timing.
On the other hand, a training run often feels like drudgery in the form of repeated endless miles.
When the runner runs with the end in mind, he engages his whole being, from mind to the body, to complete the distance in good form and pace.
The runner holds and plans his pace, checks and maintains good run form, and fuels at appropriate junctures.
He guards his mind and concentrates on positive thoughts that spur him towards yet another stride, and yet another mile.
He perseveres at this discipline until he crosses the finishing line.
He is running for the goal, the sweet reward of having earned the honour of a finisher.
This very goal sustains him throughout the distance and determines how he run.
Devoid of a deep desire to finish well and achieve a goal, the runner struggles and fades with each passing mile.
His mind languishes and he entertains thoughts of giving up as he shuffles his feet along painfully.
Our spiritual life being the race of our life.
1 Timothy 4:8 (NIV)
“For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”
What has running with the finishing line in mind has in common with living our spiritual life well?
A deep parallel exists between the two.
The Bible is on point for comparing our life on earth as Christians to the runner who runs to ‘get the prize’.
It says that we are travellers on earth, and whose home is in the heavens with the Lord.
Life on earth is a race we are gifted to run.
It has a finite distance set by Him and we are exhorted to apply ourselves wholeheartedly to running and finishing well.
“If we run this earthly race with the heavenly goal in mind, we will live our lives very differently, just as how we will run a physical race differently if we are running for the prize.”
It follows that your heart’s desires and priorities will be centered on building a warm relationship with God, as well as growing a godly character within yourself.
You will pour through the Word to search for gems and answers to life’s questions, and to know God more deeply.
Prayers will be uttered unceasingly through all the good and bad times in life.
Fellowship with kingdom friends will refresh you just as you bless them with your love and friendship.
There will be keener awareness of the consequences of your thoughts and decisions, for what happens in the physical realm affects the spiritual realm.
Keeping heaven in mind will help chart your course in life.
How we live our lives in this finite span of eighty to ninety years is going to speak for itself when we finally meet with God.
What was sown in this lifetime will be reaped at the end.
Sow something lovely and praiseworthy in the eyes of God.
Sow something of kingdom value which will last.
The person who trudges through life, tragically unaware of the eternal value of his soul and not having a heavenly perspective, is akin to an aimless runner, faltering along the journey.
Let us run with a perspective of heaven as our finishing line instead.
As Paul would have exhorted, let us fight the good fight, keep our faith and finish the race (NIV, 2 Tim 4:7-8).
Prayer & Reflection:
- What does it mean to you personally, to live life with a heaven perspective?
- What are the issues/strongholds in your life that will hinder your effort to live a life worthy of God’s calling and delight? (Just like how injuries lay us off from our training runs)
- How would you continually keep your heaven perspective in focus? (For life offers much cares, distractions and temptations to jolt us off course)