|Photo from Morguefile|
I do all this for the sake of the gospel that I may share in its blessings.
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 a man running aimlessly;
I do not fight like a man beating the air.
No, I beat 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 Corinthians 9:23-27
Yesterday, as my husband and I attempted to pull out from our driveway, a group of runners suddenly crested the little hill that comes up from the YMCA. We waited patiently while nearly a hundred people jogged, ran, plodded, and puffed by our house. We have no idea how long the run was or what cause it supported. It was very obvious though that some were giving it their heart and soul while others were merely tagging along for moral support. A few runners were barely winded and a couple of them looked as though they were praying “Just let me survive!”
Paul compares the Christian life to a race. In a race are athletes who have spent much time, even most of their life, training for the race. The goal of each one is to win and receive the prize. They would not go into the race expecting to win if they hadn’t trained for it.
As Christians we are running in the race of obedience to Christ. Our goal is to please Him and spend eternity with Him. We must train daily for the race. But how do we train for the spiritual race of our lives?
Reading God’s Word, talking with Him, trusting in Him, surrendering our wants and desires to Him, and obeying His commands all exercise our faith. Studying alongside other Christians and sharing our beliefs with those who ask also tune up our spiritual muscles.
In this race we will fail many times. It will not be easy. But we must keep on, like a runner who trips and falls but picks himself up and continues to run. We must keep the goal in mind—the goal of living a life that pleases God.
© 2013 Pamela D. Williams