This Sunday, I'm going to start a two week series entitled "The Amazing Race". The Bible uses a number of athletic images to portray our life in Christ. One such image is that of a runner and a race and it is found in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27. The Bible is clear, this thing called life is like a race and the race can be long. But, the race should be amazing and we should all look to finish well for Jesus. Sadly, many Christ followers would not categorize their race for Jesus as "amazing". The difficulties that go along with any race claims many along the way and I'm sensing that fewer and fewer Christ followers are finishing well for Jesus in our current culture.
As with any who engage in a race, preparations must be made. How foolish of us to think that we could run this marathon of life without first preparing to do so. For example, if I woke up tomorrow and tried to run 26 miles, I would most likely drop to my knees defeated before I finished that marathon. It's not because I wasn't willing to try but rather, I had not trained or prepared to do so. Sadly, many Christ followers attempt to run the race of life by trying to live for Jesus rather than training to live for Jesus. We must prepare ourselves spiritually to take on the race of life and finish well on a daily basis.
It is also important for a runner to run with purpose and direction. How foolish would a runner look if the starting gun went off and they started running in the wrong direction. A runner knows where the finish line is at and with great aim and precision they work towards that target. It's also very important that every Christ follower understand that they have been fearfully and wonderfully created for a purpose. It's not about you and I, but rather fulfilling God's purpose for our lives as His created. Are you running with purpose or just casually letting the challenges of this world blow you in many directions leaving you confused and discouraged? Know what your Creator wants to accomplish in and through you.
Finally, we must run with passion for the prize. Most runners run so as to win some sort of a prize. They run to get gold medals and advertising deals. These items create great passion within athletes as they want to be the very best at what they compete in. How sad that many Christ followers don't run with passion towards the finish line. Christ has promised to reward those who run a great race for Him. Not a perfect race, but a committed and passionate one where the runner is sold out to finishing well for Jesus and it tangible shows on a regular basis.
I firmly believe that many Christ followers are not experiencing an amazing race in our current culture. We've bought into so many worldly concepts about what brings satisfaction and value that we've lost sight of what Christ has called us to do. My desire as I write this today is to run well the race Christ has set before me by daily training in spiritual activities and running with purpose and passion. I'm not running a perfect race by any means, but I have the finish line in my sight and I know that Jesus is at the finish line. I want to cross that finish line with joy in my heart, not because life was easy, but because I ran well in my Savior who gives me strength and wisdom day by day to handle whatever the course of life throws at me. May your race for Jesus be an amazing one today!!!