Run Your Race
“Know ye not that they which run in a race run all (all run), but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain (win the prize).” 1 Corinthians 9:24
I enjoy running, even though I do not run as much as I used to. I often need additional motivation, though, to get me going on a consistent basis. I have a nice trail by my house that will take me as far as I want to go, although I have only gone 12 miles on it. I like to sign up for a race and put it on my calendar as motivation to train. There is nothing worse than showing up for a race and knowing you did not put the work in as you should. The 5K will seem to go on forever, and you will wish you would have woken up earlier and trained harder.
I signed up for my first race in 2011 because I thought it would be neat to run in a race. I had never run 4.2 miles before in my life, and I trained very little for this first endeavor. I asked a friend of mine if he would join me, he obliged, and we both barely survived the ordeal. Neither of us had trained and we were quite thankful that we even finished the race. We vowed we would do better the next year, and we even agreed to meet up to run together prior to the race. As we promised ourselves, we did better the next year. I am not sure when it began, but somewhere along they way, a competition started between us. It was not something we said out loud, but it was a given that this race had become a friendly rivalry between us.
We have entered this race every year since then, and we push each other during each one. We do not speak many words during the race, but shared looks of exhaustion and encouraging nods propel us to do our best. I would be lying if I said I did not want to beat my friend in the race, but in running, your primary competitor is time. The moment I cross the finish line, I look for him to see if I beat him or if he beat me. I look at the race website to see if our finish times are posted, and I always hope my time is a smaller number than his. I never wish ill will on my friend, but I do desire to beat him.
Although there is nothing wrong with competitiveness, it sometimes can go too far and become a sin to us. Our competitive spirit sometimes gets the best of us when we desire to always win or to be the best at everything. We act out on these emotions and pout and become angry when we don’t win, and are known as sore losers. We lose our spiritual testimony, and we lose friends and companions in the wake of our sinful, competitive nature. At times, we even display this competitive spirit in the church as we try to outdo one another, not for the glory of God, but for the glory of self. We cut another down to promote ourself, and we try to trip up others who are running the same Christian race.
The goal of the Christian race is to pursue the prize, an incorruptible crown when we are called up to Heaven. We should run as if there is only one winner, but that prize will be won by all Christians who run well, to those who run in the pursuit of holiness. God will not compare us to anyone else, but He will require of us that we run the race He gave us to run in a way that was pleasing to Him. God looks at the heart, and He truly knows how we are running our race.
Where are you today friend? Has your competitive spirit gotten the best of you? Do you always desire to be first at all costs? Are you constantly trying to one-up another? How is your training going in the race of life? Are you running well, or have you allowed your sin or disappointment to cause you to take a seat on the sideline? If God called you home today, would He say, “Well done my good and faithful servant”? May we run to obtain the prize, and may we help others along the way.
Stay in the fight!