To be completely honest, I have not always been tantalized by the racing competition. Nascar has not really been exciting, neither has Motocross or Indycar, etc. But, when I first watched Olympic races in the form of swimming, and track and field, I was enamored by the passion involved in the spirit of competition for the Olympians. I enjoy seeing the various forms of Olympic racing; those of speed, endurance and a balance of the two. There is one word that describes the life of an Olympic swimmer, or sprinter: dedication. Unless one makes the finish line his life-goal, he cannot expect to stand on the first place pedestal. Lets apply this principle to a spiritual context for this blog post.
If your mind works like mine, then you are likely recalling a few “racing” passages of Scripture. I want to notice one of those passages: 2 Timothy 4:6-8 and especially verse seven,
For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course (race, NKJV), I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. (EMP, TC)
Every human being is competing in a race. Unlike the Olympic races to which we have just referred, our race is a spiritual one, and our goal is not to defeat all other racers. Our goal is simple; finish the race and remain on course. Along the race we are met with roadblocks from Satan, our adversary (1 Pet. 5:8). He is determined to make us stumble, lose sight of the finish line and veer off course. This illustration brings to a different light Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 7:13-14,
Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
Some versions of the New Testament translate the word for ‘way’ differently; they translated it ‘road.’ This lends well to our discussion. Is it easy to stay on course in the race that we are running? Anyone who has been tempted to sin and has yielded to it would say that our race is quite difficult. So what can we do to remain on course so that one day we may echo Paul's words at the end of his life? In the spirit of a race, there are certain things that must take place in order for the race participant to expect to finish the race and achieve victory; they must train very hard, eat the right foods and remain focussed.
Friend, if you are interested in pleasing God and achieving the victory found in Christ to be granted entrance into Heaven above you must be willing to surrender to the Trainer who will teach and discipline us. You must be partaking of the right foods; spiritual food that will strengthen your soul to fight off the devil’s attacks. Focus on the goal at hand. Only after you make your life to be a race to run for God’s glory will you be able to achieve ultimate victory over sin, death, and defeat (2 Tim. 4:8; cf Mat. 25:34).