Running to Win the Race
Hello my friends. Today I would like to talk to you about what it means to run this race with the goal to win. Let's consider what God says to us about this in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (NIV): "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."
First of all notice that there is a prize to obtain. The apostle Paul said, "Run in such a way as to get the prize." It should be noted that unlike the competitive games that Paul was referring to, in this spiritual race everyone that finishes the race will get a prize. The second thing I want you to notice is that completing this race requires that we go into strict training. What does that look like in the Christian race? I believe training comes in three forms. The first is to sit at the feet of someone that has done it before and receive instruction. The second is to train yourself. The third way we are trained is by submitting to the discipline of the Lord.
The third thing that we should take note of is the reason that we are participating in the race in the first place. Those in the world may do it to get a crown that will not last. But we are looking for a crown that will last forever. The apostle Paul spoke of the day that he would receive his crown in 2 Timothy 4:7-8 (NIV). There he wrote, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day - and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing."
The last thing I want you to notice is that the apostle Paul did a couple of things to help prepare himself. First of all, he did not operate without a goal. He was very intentional in what he did. And secondly he understood that victory would require sacrifice. And he was very willing to make the necessary sacrifices. And finally he understood that he had to make sure that he himself was not disqualified for the prize. Run on, my brothers and sisters. Run on for the Lord!