“Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”I Corinthians 9:24-27
A friend once told me that I have a jogger’s body with a runner’s mind. I have been in many races, and I always get a nervous excitement prior to a race. I have a love/hate relationship with running, but I love the way I feel after a run. I don’t like to start the races too fast as I know I must pace myself. In the middle of the race, I often find myself smack dab in the middle of everyone. The ones who are fastest are far ahead of me, and the ones who are slower are far behind me. I often find myself with the small group in the middle of the pack, and I am motivated by the runners ahead of me. In the last mile of the race I like to turn it on and give it all I’ve got. I hate to finish a race with a lot of gas left in my tank. If my lungs are not burning, then I have not given it my all. Although I’ve never won a race, it has never discouraged me from trying my best. If I do not strive to win, then what is the point of running in the first place?
Prior to a race, I am careful what I eat and drink. I don’t weigh myself down with a full meal or drink a gallon of water five minutes prior to the race. The same goes for our Christian life. There are things we must avoid if we are to run our race well. We must be cautious of the sins that so easily beset us, and the sinful pursuits that would detract us from our goal. As in running, we must have self-discipline and learn to say no to the things threaten to hinder us. We run the Christian race to achieve the crown that does not corrupt—the crown that will last forever. The pursuit of money, careers, and fleshly desires mean nothing in light of eternity, and we will never be satisfied in these pursuits.
What motivates you in the Christian race? What are you chasing after? What are you goals in life? Are you running the race to win the incorruptible crown or are you pursuing that which will soon fade away? Do you practice what you preach to others? I pray that you desire to run the race well and you ask God moment by moment to help you. May your spiritual lungs be burning, and may your pursuit please the Kings of Kings.