” Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” (1 Corinthians 9:24-27).
My sons had another cross country meet this weekend. My oldest son ran his course and broken his personal best record, the one he had set to beat by his senior year, he beat as a sophomore. My youngest ran his race and beat his personal best record as well. It was incredible to watch, knowing how far they have come in their years of training.
“Eyes up!” Was a phrase I heard often during the different races. If a runner focuses on his or her feet and not what is ahead, they will not be prepared for their next hill– ascent or descent. They need to look for the next turn so they can adjust their speed, the next straightaway for passing, and finally their goal– the finish line.
“Kick it!” Is another phrase called out to the runners as they reached the final 400 yards of the race. This is where the runner was to reach deep and pull out the last bit of energy they had stored up so they could run, all out for the finish. In their competition it was also a time to pass one more opponent before finishing the race.
As a believer we are called to do the very same things. We are to keep our “eyes up” focusing on Jesus and preparing for what is ahead. When we reach the end of our lives we are to “kick it” and push to the end, not stroll to the end. I don’t want to coast into Heaven. I want to come with all that I have, full speed, no holds barred, all or nothing into Heaven.
Paul used running races to symbolize our lives as we are called to live them. He shared this view in Philippians 3:12-16,20-21; “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.”
So let’s join together in our race. Let’s lace up our shoes, grab our bottles of the living water and run this race to the finish.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,” Hebrews 12:1.