“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.”— 1 Corinthians 9:24
I love to run, and every time I hit the road I set personal goals for myself. Setting personal goals is the only way to track my improvement as a runner. While I was preparing to run in my first competitive race a more seasoned runner gave me this advice, “Chris, it is all about you running your race, not someone else's.”
As a follower of Jesus, my main goal has always been to find God’s plan for my life and then to go after it with all my heart. Yet, when talking with other Christian’s I find some have never even awakened to the fact that God has a special race for them to run! They might have a general idea about the will of God, but the idea that God has a plan for their life with specifics has somehow alluded them. I think that is why Paul asked the Corinthians, “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.” Paul teaches here and in a few other places, that our faith in Christ is like a “race,” and how we run that “race” really matters.
This word “race” is the Greek word stadion - a measure of distance (by impl.) a stadium or race course. Paul, an educated man, knew precisely what he was doing when he used a word that described the Olympic race course of his day. By using this idea, he was communicating to the Corinthians (and us) that they needed to see themselves as spiritual Olympic competitors! In other words, this life we lead is not to be played with; it is the most serious competition we will ever face on the earth. When we enter the race of faith, it puts us in the center of the arena. People see us as we walk by faith. They know of our struggles, and they watch as spectators to see if we will win our battles. We must always keep in mind, that we’re not running a private race of faith, but a race that has influence on many people’s lives. So, run your race in a way that encourages the bystanders who are watching from the sidelines to jump into the race themselves and pursue their destiny in God!
Chris Wood pastors at Zion Fellowship in Canandaigua, NY. He and his wife, Joan, have been involved in ministry for over 35 yrs., and it has been fun. They have three children, two daughter-in-laws and two grandchildren. Their family is amazing!