As Christians, we are in a race. It is not just a race but a heavenly race where we run to win an incorruptible crown. This requires our hearts’ utmost zeal and intensity (Matt. 11:12). This heavenly race involves striving (Luke13-24). We must strive to enter through the strait gate. We must strive as a matter of life and death. Indeed, it is a holy striving and contention because this heavenly race is likened to a wrestling contest (Eph.6:12), a fight (1Tim. 6:12), and running a race (1 Cor. 9:24-27).
Why Must We Run this Race?
- First, it is because God had set us on the race (Hebrews 23:1).
- Secondly, there is no other way to get to heaven but by running the race (2 Peter 1:10-11).
- Thirdly, the time allotted to man is short. Job compares our life to that of a swift runner (Job. 9:25).
We are up and running in this marathon, and each sunrise presents new challenges as we run along. It is important to know that God has provided the path we are supposed to follow. But how can we run this race that is set before us?
All glory to God that we are not left jogging in the dark. The author of Hebrews provides three ways to keep us on the right track:
- Remembering the cloud of witnesses: we start the race of life by remembering that we are not alone. We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses (Heb. 12:1a).
- Throwing off the sin that entangles us easily: We must follow the right path to win the incorruptible crown. Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us (Heb. 12:1b).
- Looking up to Jesus: While we may glance at the crowd of witnesses around us and throw off the things that entangle us, our ultimate encouragement is in the prize that awaits those of us who live by faith. “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning it’s shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God,” (Heb. 12:2).
Paul shows the importance of looking unto Jesus by this heartfelt cry, “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death and so somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead,” (Phil. 3:10-11). As we run and keep our eyes on Jesus, God works on us, making us more and more like His Son. Ultimately, He will bring us to our long-awaited reward.
Conclusion: Let all like Paul, “press on toward the goal to win the prize,” for which God has called us heavenward in Christ Jesus (Philip3:14). Run the race that is set before you and run it with the hope that God wants you to have in Christ.