We are all in a race. Not a literal running race but the 'race of life' and the prize is eternal life. Are we all going to make it to the finish line? I know from the experience of being a runner, who over the years has competed in lots of races, that when you are running you do not look back. You fix your eyes straight ahead and look towards your goal which is the finish line. Looking back does nothing but make you aware that there are others gaining on you. You just keep running, go the distance and stay the course. Your focus is straight ahead.
In the Bible running the race is mentioned in several places. Hebrews 12:1-2 says "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, 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." This is a great illustration. Sin can throw 'weeds' in your path and get you all tangled up and make you trip and fall down. To win a race you have to be persistent and just charge on. Let go of bad stuff and look ahead to the prize. 2 Timothy 4:7 says "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." Once again the race word is mentioned. 1 Timothy 4:7 speaks of training when it says "Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness." In other words, train by staying in God's word.
One of my all time favorite verses is Isaiah 40:31 which says "But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." Think of the strength of an eagle soaring on lofty heights. What a strong bird to represent our country too. When you run for the Lord in the race of life you look to Him for your strength and the ability to finish strong.
When in training for the now defunct Women's Army Corps back in 1975 God actually 'gave' me a verse I did not even know was in the Bible. It helped me get through my rigorous training. It was Psalm 18:29 which reads "For by you I can run against a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall." We did tons of running and were trained to jump over walls. This verse was a true gift to encourage me during this time .
In Galatians 5:7 there is a verse that deals with not following Jesus. It says "You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth?" Who hindered you from obeying the truth and following Jesus? Some have known the truth and have walked in it then they get off course and are not headed for the prize like they used to be. The focus is off Jesus and the wrong road of life is chosen.Lies are believed because the person has taken focus off the truth and becomes deceived. This could be due to a number of factors from choosing the wrong friends, believing the enemies lies, or perhaps thinking being a Christian is dull and boring and therefore staying away from church. That is why it is so important to find a good Bible believing church that teaches the uncompromising word of God and stay in fellowship with other believers. Reading your Bible daily and praying is of utmost importance to run towards the prize as well. As a follow on to the verse above in Galatians 5:10 it further warns "I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. The one who is throwing you into confusion will pay the penalty, whoever he may be."
Where are you at today in the race of life? Are you pressing on for the finish line or do you find it too hard and want to give up? Run the race to win. The heavenly reward awaits you! Acts 20:24 sums it up good by saying "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." You are either running with and to Jesus or away from Him.
PRAYER: Lord my desire is to be more like you and to run my race to win looking only to you for what I need to finish. Help me not stray from the path you have set out for me. I want to keep my eyes fixed on God's finish line. Help me recognize and cast off sins that are slowing me down or weighing me down and run strong towards you Lord. In Jesus Name. Amen.