Reality Check: How are you in your walk with God today? Coasting? Strolling? Sprinting? Running? Racing? There should be a pretty good picture at what stage of your race you are now in the Christian life. To be able to have an objective and honest evaluation of how we are doing with our faith is an important part of our relationship with God.
The Christian life is like running a race.The Apostle Paul has pictured our life in Jesus Christ as that of a runner running the race. Fixed to its goal. Aiming for the prize. Running with endurance. Unencumbered by sins. Not entangled by any affairs of life. “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.
Run with a fixed eye on the prize. A runner who wishes to win with a clear aim for the prize do not go about coasting in the lane. He does not take a stroll and momentarily forget his goal. He does not easily become preoccupied with senseless things and things that do not have eternal value. Instead, he runs the race with eyes fixed on the upward call in Jesus Christ. As Paul said, “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 3:14. He fixes his eye on Jesus. “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” – Hebrews 12:2. He runs to win the prize. “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.” – 1 Corinthians 9:24. So run the race with your eyes fixed on Jesus.
Run with nothing holding you back. We may have excess baggage from the past or the present that keeps us lagging behind. Perhaps a broken relationship that needs forgiveness. Perhaps, a painful memory that needs healing. Perhaps, a failure that you need to face with acceptance. Perhaps, an unspoken issue that needs closure. Perhaps, a consistent fear that you need to face head-on. Perhaps, a disappointment in the family or in your career. There may be one, there may be two, or there may be several. They entangle us. If we want to run the race for real as Paul did, we have to let God take these baggages so they will not hold us back. He is a mastermind in mending wounds and healing the broken. “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” – Psalm 147:3. Sometimes, it is not the issues in our life that encumber us. It is actually people around us. The norms around us. The expectations people have about us. The ideas the world put into us which are contrary to the Word of God, yet they are so enticing to us. Like a cherry on top of the ice cream, it makes the dessert more appealing and tasty! So Paul asked the Galatians Christians, “You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?” – Galatians 5:7. What keeps you from running well? Who hinders you from obeying the truth?
Run with a good fight. Running a race is actually hard work. Long seasons of training and discipline. Time management, sleep management, and eating management. It is not an easy job. A serious racer takes running seriously. A serious follower of Jesus takes Christianity seriously. He puts in the hard work of obedience in keeping with repentance (Luke 3:8). But the wonderful news is, you do not have to do the hard work alone. You have a Helper. Jesus said, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever.” – John 14:16. “and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” – Romans 5:5. God Holy Spirit comforts you and helps you in your weakness. In every toil you do and every good intentions you strive to do for God’s glory, He is there helping you. You need not fear of the hard work or the difficulty of running the race. You need not fear being alone in the race. You need not fear of getting tired and weak, because God is your strength! Put a good fight in your running by depending on the abounding grace of the Lord.