"And if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules." 2 Timothy 2:5
"I press on toward the goal for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:14
"And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown". 1 Corinthians 9:25
"..let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and the finisher of our faith." Hebrews 12:1-2
If we are to run God's race we must run correctly. Scriptures show us the correct way of running the Christian life.
We are to run....
1. Keeping the RULES of the race (2 Timothy 2:5)
2. Having the finishing mark as our AIM (Philippians 3:14)
3. With great self CONTROL(1 Corinthians 9:25) and
4. ENDURING until the end (Hebrews 12:1-2).
The four key words are:
We run His race by keeping the rules as revealed in His Word, the Bible. We are put in the race by His undeserved favour as we confess our sins and confess Him as our Lord and Saviour but we still have a standard to live by. If runners use illegal performance enhancing drugs they may excel for a season but ultimately will be caught and eliminated. We must run our Christian race with integrity and holiness.
Our Aim in the Christian race must always be to please God and run always towards His goal of being like Christ. In Paul's day there were regular games where runners competed against each other (the origin of the Olympic games). At the finishing line the judge would stand with the prize, a laurel wreath crown for the winner. As the runners came down the final stretch their eyes would fix on the judge holding the prize and strain forward to win. In the same way we must fix our eyes on Jesus and strain forward to be more and more like Him.
Runners need much self control and must throw off everything that hinders them in their quest for glory. In our Christian life we must walk in self control and exercise our spirits daily through prayer, worship and Bible reading and flee all temptations and sins that will slow us down in our race.
Finally, what is the point of starting well if we never finish the race. We must endure until the very end. When Carlton Heston was concerned about not being able to win the chariot race in the movie Ben Hur, Cecil B.De Mille told him, "Your job is to stay on the chariot. It's my job to make sure you win". So too for us - we're just to endure and do what God has asked us to do and leave the winning up to Him.
I may run and win, but along the way break the rules,
The only crown I will wear is the one reserved for fools!
"Father God, help me to run the Christian life by keeping your rules found in your Word, the Bible. Help be keep my aim on Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith. Help me to be self controlled and run without entangling sins and baggage that will hinder me. Help me to endure to the very end by clinging tightly onto you. In the name of Jesus. Amen."