Everyone in a contest wants to win: be it a political race, a game of football, athletics, in academics, first in line in the bank or dinning hall, infact in all competitions. In all serious contests, like the Olympics, competitors will do whatever it takes to win – enduring countless hours of training, employing the best coaches, removing all distractions, discarding any excesses, and seeking every avenue to gain an advantage.
While most compete within the rules, some competitors resort to illegal and illegitimate means to better their chances.
In our spiritual race, we are all making efforts to be winners. A good spiritual runner is one who is sold out to Jesus, straining to become more like him. The finish line of our faith is a life that is more Christ-like today than yesterday and to live out one’s Godly purposes and assignments within the set time.
In the christian race, we compete against our individual and specific godly purposes and becoming Christlike all within our time of physical life on earth. We don’t compete against each other but against Christ likeness, purposefulness and time. We each run the specific races marked for each of us.
The goal is not perfection, but progress towards purposefulness and christ-likeness. Hence, the Christian life may not be as that of a tourist strolling in the park or a vacationer meandering along a beach. The Christian life is more like a marathon. For sure, it is like a tough marathon race with serious consequences!
By the way, how are you fairing so far? Are you any further along toward that goal today than you were yesterday? This is not a question of longevity but of Christ-likeness and purposefulness. It matters little how long you’ve been on the track; it matters greatly how far you’ve progressed from your starting line.
If you aren’t making progress what is holding you back? What is tripping you up in your spiritual journey? What is slowing your progress toward Christlikeness? In other words, in the race set before you, what would God say is presently keeping you from being the champion he would like you to be?
The writer of Hebrews says, “Therefore since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us, and run with endurance the race that lies before us” (Heb. 12:1 ).
The “therefore” of Hebrews 12:1 is a reference back to Hebrews 11, the great hall of fame of faith. The champions of Hebrews 11 have run the race victoriously and now encourage us to become spiritual champions too.
The men and women of faith listed in Hebrews 11 were not perfect people. Look at the list. Noah was a drunk. Abraham, a liar. Samson, a person of passion. Rahab, a prostitute. Moses had a temper problem.
Gideon was distraught with fear. David, an adulterer and murderer. Not only were these people not perfect, they weren’t even close to perfect. But they progressed toward the finish line of Christ-likeness.
These champions of yesterday testify to us today. Noah is telling every drunk you can stop. Abraham reminds every liar that you can tell the truth. Samson acknowledges that God’s power can enable you to win over your passion.
Rahab informs you that you can break the chains of promiscuity. Moses jogs your memory that with God’s help you can control anger. Gideon testifies that you can face your fears. And, David beckons that you can overcome the worst things a human being can do.
Well, how are you doing in the race marked for you? Is it not time you take this race seriously and not with contempt as many are doing? Let’s all today make decisions to that effect! Let’s make progress towards purposefulness and Christ-likeness. Now, that is our goal each day.
And, if you have been procrastinating for along time and would like to start your race today based on the account this Bible study;
say this prayer with me;
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge.
Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.
Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity.
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you.
Save me from bloodguilt, O God, the God who saves me, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.
In Jesus name, I am born AGAIN.
Go well and sin no more🙏