Life is a race.
Only a few weeks have passed since we watched the lifelong dreams of runners, swimmers, gymnasts, and thousands of other sports participants either succeed or fail—all hoping for the glory of the gold.
For the Love of Gold
One of the things I enjoy most about the Olympics is hearing the stories behind the contestants: tales of courage and discipline, of hopes and dreams, and persistence and accomplishments. So many emerged from the shadows of tragedy, loss, mental anguish, and physical challenges. Some won; some lost, but all worked hard to give their best.
Watch the Track
I especially love watching the track participants. Those contests remind me so much of how life is a race.
As followers of Christ, we are learning to run our own races: to live each day with courage, dignity, hopefulness, and persistence, loving not the “game” or the “gift” as much as the Giver and Designer of the race.
Are You Competing or Completing?
However, when we run our race or use our gift (s) for God the best we can, giving our all for His glory, we can’t lose. No need to fear failure or to perform perfectly, and no agony of defeat.
What Keeps Us Going
Why? Because it’s not about crossing the finish line first, or about stumbling across last. Ours is a different kind of race. God’s love and grace give us motivation, along with the Holy Spirit’s guidance, strength, and courage to keep going. He’s the reason for not giving up in the middle of the race. We are His children, and He has a vested interest in us. And He does want us to find His joy in the journey.
Do we still run to win? Yes, but not in the same way. Our prize won’t fade. We’re not competing with anyone else, but we still train, because we are struggling against difficulties and challenges that threaten to sideline us:
You’ve all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You’re after one that’s gold eternally. 1 Corinthians 9:24–25 (MSG).
Jesus “ran” for the joy set before Him.
We look away from the natural realm and we focus our attention and expectation onto Jesus who birthed faith within us and who leads us forward into faith’s perfection. His example is this: Because his heart was focused on the joy of knowing that you would be his, he endured the agony of the cross and conquered its humiliation, and now sits exalted at the right hand of the throne of God! Hebrews 12:2 (TPT)
What do we win? The apostle Paul describes it this way:
Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14-15 (NIV)
The Gold Medal of Faithfulness
One day, in the Greatest Olympics of all time, we will receive our reward: the gold medal of faithfulness. We run for the joy of knowing Jesus and the pleasure of completing the purpose for which He created us. Our finish line is heaven, and the greatest reward is seeing the One who made it possible for us to run and complete our race.
Your race is not and will not be easy. Losses will grieve you. Disappointment can hurt you. Doubters may discourage you. And challenges will interrupt your pace. It will require discipline, persistence, and most of all, God’s grace. But we have a Savior who lives in us, works through us, and walks with us daily. And a crowd of witnesses who have already finished their race wait to applaud our arrival.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. Hebrews 12:1 (NLT)
Yes, we are all in this together.
I’m praying for you. Be blessed and encouraged today!
It’s Your Turn
What about you? How are you doing in the race? Is anything weighing you down? You can always write me through my contact page and fill out the basic name and address info; then the email will come to me. Your name or info will never be shared with anyone without your permission.
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