“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.” 1 Cor. 9:24 [NIV]
Scripture clearly teaches that Christianity is a race, a spiritual race that takes place during the believer’s life on earth. It begins on the day you got born again and would not end until the day you hear these precious words from our Lord and Master Jesus Christ: “well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” Matthew 25:23. It is also important to note this race is so peculiar that all believers, in spite of their age, status and circumstances on earth are required to be engaged in it daily! Furthermore, the “track” on which we run this spiritual race is not as smooth and manicured as the athletic tracks around us. On the contrary, its tracks are rough, rugged, tough, winding, undulating and challenging! Jesus Christ confirms it in John 16:33 thus: “In this world, you will have trouble.” How then do we run on this peculiar track and win the prize?
First, be born by and into the image and the likeness of Jesus Christ who successfully ran this race before us. He declared to the Pharisee Nicodemus: “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again? John 3:3. He told him further: “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the Kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.” John 3:5-7. We all need to be born into this new spiritual experience to be able to run this peculiarly challenging race successfully. When Paul had this experience, he confidently exclaimed: “I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength.” Phil. 4:13. Hence, after many decades of successfully running this race to the end, he boldly declared, “For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me, the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day – and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” 2 Tim. 4:6-8.
Second, quit the company of non-runners! There are several people around us who look as if there are on this race when they are not! The Psalmist reveals true runners as those who “do not walk in the counsel of the wicked, or stand in the way of sinners, nor sit in the seat of mockers.” Psalm 1:1. In other words, he reveals non-runners as “wicked, sinners and mockers.” Hence, Paul elaborates further: “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God and they will be my people. Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord” 2 Corinthians 6:14-17. Remember, bad company terribly ruined Samson’s race! Judges 13 – 16:30.
Third, wait on the Lord regularly. This is because “those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31. Believe it, you can run to win the heavenly prize. God’s grace is sufficient for you.