Running and Finishing the Christian Race
(Bible Text: 1 Corinthians 9:24-27)
The Bible compared the Christian life to the illustration of running a race. This is what Apostle Paul reiterates in the text above; he analyzes the Christian life in terms of running a race. We can apply these principles spiritually to understand our purpose here on earth because we are pilgrims on our way to heaven.
Understanding the Christian Life as a Race to be Won
(1 Cor 9:26, Luke 13:24, Proverbs 21:17, Matthew 11:12, 1 Tim 6:12, Hebrews 12:1-2)
Life itself is a race and for those who run it, there is always a desire for a prize and a crown to be won. So it is with us as Christians; we’re not just saved for nothing. We have believed and continued in our walk with Christ in order to gain those things we have believed – heaven, glory, happiness, eternal life with God – we have a desire within us to claim that prize of our high calling.
As Paul pointed out, every prize comes at a cost. Those who want to win a race are always willing to forgo those things that will hinder them from running the race. This will include how they spend their time or who they spend it with among other things.This is exactly how the Christian race is.
The ultimate prize for every disciple of Christ is to attain the glory of heaven. To get ready for this glorious reward, we begin to realise that there are certain things that may be present in their lives – the corruption and pollution of the world and sin – that they must get rid of. This is because, like athletes who compete to win a race, a Christian cannot consume everything, a Christian cannot consume sin and iniquity. Like every athlete who aims for mastery, a Christian who will endure and receive the crown of life must be determined to shed every hindrance.
The good news is that God has made provision for our overcoming; if you desire to overcome, you will overcome by the grace of God that is always available.
Self-Denial as a Pivot of the Christian Race
(1 Cor 9:25,27; Matthew 16:24; Galatians 5:7-9; Philippians 3:7, 12-14; 2 Timothy 2: 3-5)
Jesus himself said “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me” (Matt 16:24). We will make it to heaven by God’s grace but we must subscribe to self-denial as a daily companion in our lives.
Christianity means deliverance from sin and liberty in Christ Jesus but it is never a liberty to be comfortable or continue in sin (Rom 6:1, Gal 5:13).
We must be led by the Holy Spirit and some of the results will include self-control and temperance.
Overcomers Will Receive Their Reward
(1 Cor 9:25; 2 Tim 4:7,8;James 1:12; 1 Peter 5:4, Rev 3:11)
Everyone has their own challenges in this Christian race; there are times of weakness, discouragement, persecution, offences and sorrows. You will need God to strengthen you and he will not fail because He walks with us on our journey to eternal glory (Matt 28:20). Just don’t give up.
Make up your mind to face the battles of life and God will support you to win the race. The Lord is at hand and he will reward everyone who endures till the end. Hold fast to what you have received, don’t let anyone take it from you and you are assured of an eternal crown.
God bless and keep you.