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. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.
Earth's spin, of course, is not the only motion we have in space. Our orbital speed around the sun is about 67,000 mph (107,000 km/h), according to Cornell University. As you’re reading this, you may be in a moving object like a car, plane, boat, or bicycle. And even if you’re not actively moving, you have to realize that you’re on a planet that is moving at a very fast pace as it revolves around the sun. Whether we feel it or not, the earth is in constant motion as time zones and seasons change. In the same way, whether you know it or not, every decision you make and every action you take is leading you somewhere that will be discovered after you take your last breath.
On this journey with God, you are going to experience offenses, disappointment, deep losses, discouragement, sickness, relationship conflicts, anxiety, fear, and so much more. Your approach to dealing with these circumstances will determine your course. They can either be distractions that will take your focus away from growing in the knowledge and wisdom of God, or they can be catalysts to your personal growth.
If you have ever run a race, you will observe that it’s so much easier to run with fewer clothes even in frigid temperatures. Running with layers only slows down your progress; this is why professional runners wear few clothes when they run. There are also certain guidelines you can follow to make your running easier –your body posture, breathing, and mindset can all affect the way you run.
Some people are able to prepare for success by using these guidelines, practicing these skills, and gaining strength to endure in the process. But those who don’t follow these guidelines may struggle in the race.
Paul the Apostle writes that if professional runners are willing to invest their time to obtain a temporary prize, then we should be willing to engage in the race of life in such a way that we obtain a timeless prize, which is eternity with God. Your focus in this life should not be caught up in the momentary rewards because they perish. Instead, in the race of life, you must pay attention to how you practice the skills that will help you win the race.
In fact, Colossians 3:2 says
Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
This means that your mind (which focuses on the objects of your affections) should not meditate or engage in thoughts that don’t contribute to your winning.
Paul mentions that there are many people running the race who say they have a relationship with God. This is good, but he encourages us to go beyond just running for the sake of running, and to run with purpose in order to win the eternal prize. On this journey with God you will always be presented with the option to choose. Will you choose the option for the earthly reward or the option with eternal rewards?
So how do you aim for eternal rewards? For example, if you run a long race without exercising or practicing, you will risk straining your heart and eventually quit because you have no longevity.
Endurance is built with time. Training to run a full marathon can take more than a year,
so how much more your spiritual race?
Think about what it takes to build endurance to obtain the imperishable prize of eternity with God. This endurance is built by every choice you make in your day to day life. In other words, depending on how you live, your choices may or may not lead you to build spiritual endurance.
Finally, the apostles Peter and James all mentioned that the testing of our faith through trials, tribulations, and suffering is more precious and worth more than earthly gold. When we decide to endure and allow God into our painful experiences, He uses them to reward us and bless us. Don’t let the obstacles of life become a distraction in obtaining your eternal prize by complaining, murmuring, holding unforgiveness, bitterness, or quitting. Instead, make the choice to go to God in every situation through prayer.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
Hebrews 12:1-2 says that
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and the perfector of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Damalie Namale, M.A.