Winning the Race

It’s Track and Field season! Through the years, this has become my favorite spring sport. No, I am not a runner, and never have been. However, all four of my kids were distance runners and 3 of them competed at the college level. One thing I have learned  is that to excel in running one must be dedicated to practice hard. Skipped practices and doing only enough to get by, does not produce outstanding runners.

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It is at this time of year, I am reminded of some Bible passages that address running.  In his letter to the church in Corinth, Paul said, he does everything he can to help spread the good news of Jesus. He then used this analogy of running a race.

 “Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step.” 1 Corinthians 9:24-26a

Are you running your life race with purpose? As a Christian, my purpose should be to bring honor and glory to God in all I say and do.

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My child, never forget the things I have taught you. Store my commands in your heart…Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. Proverbs 3:1,5,6

If you follow this proverbial workout, you will run well and not fail.

My runners were goal setters. They not only competed against other runners, but sometimes their toughest competition was themselves.  It was not uncommon to see their memo board filled with numbers, but to the general public that’s all it was. However, it was a great visual of past, present, and future running times. Posted to see daily was last year’s time or last week’s, the goal set for the next race, and the personal best time record goal to meet by end of season. When a new personal best time was made, the end of season fastest time was one step closer. At times there were injuries and falls, but they pressed on. We may not have a big trophy or gold medallion dangling in front of us, but we have something much more noteworthy. We have a heavenly reward, eternal life with King Jesus. Run the course with the prize in view!

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 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead,  I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. Philippians 3:13, 14

My kids made adaptations in their running strategies as well as in their diet. They also studied the pros and cons of a variety of running shoes, before selecting the one that fit their foot best and was designed for the specific race distance. They eliminated things that would slow them down.  We need to do the same in our  lives. Get rid of the things that drag you down and cause you to stumble.

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. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Hebrews 12:1,2

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Run this life race with excitement and don’t look back. Keep running with your focus on Jesus.

Now folks, I must run, or I’ll be late to the first track meet of the season.

But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

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