As we talk about the currency of time this week, I couldn’t help but point out the giant metaphor staring me right in the face.
I ran a half marathon this weekend. It was a first for me and something that’s been on my goal list for almost a decade. I can’t tell you how great it felt to check it off the list.
That’s why racing is on the brain.
“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. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
Paul asks a very poignant question in this passage. Why run a race if you don’t care about the prize? I might rephrase it for our context and ask: Why live life without an ultimate purpose? Hopefully our purpose is sure and we haven’t entered this race without a target goal in mind.
AIM FOR THE TARGET
I’m not a runner, but I am a goal-setter. Once I had a goal time in mind I wanted to do anything I could to hit it. I didn’t run aimlessly, determining that “when I get there I get there.” Instead my running partner mapped out our time goals mile by mile and we focused on hitting the finish within a specific window of time.
Our race had tons of things that could have slowed us down. There were bands on every corner, people dressed in crazy costumes, and some hills that threatened to slow our pace. But we kept the music cranked and our faces forward. And rather than stopping for water or fuel, we carried what we needed the whole race. We stuck to the center, kept the goal in mind and just ran.
FOCUS ON THE FINISH
It’s so important for us to stay focused on the goal set before us. We know that there are a million things vying for our time. If our desire is to know Him more, then we need to do whatever we can to succeed in that goal. When we spend time with the Lord we need to be ready to run past distractions. Turn off phones and close computers. Even if that time is just in the shower, give Him your full attention in that moment.
Paul uses the race metaphor again beautifully:
“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:12-14, NIV
This is a life-long training process, but the time invested will be worth every minute spent in pursuit of the King of Kings. Let’s keep our eyes on the prize!
“Since we are surrounded by so many examples of faith, we must get rid of everything that slows us down, especially sin that distracts us. We must run the race that lies ahead of us and never give up. We must focus on Jesus, the source and goal of our faith. He saw the joy ahead of him, so he endured death on the cross and ignored the disgrace it brought him. Then he received the highest position in heaven, the one next to the throne of God. Think about Jesus, who endured opposition from sinners, so that you don’t become tired and give up.” Hebrews 12:1-3, GWT
Running the Race,