The Bible tells us in several places that we are running a race. Some of you may say, “Oh, yeah! It’s a rat race and I am ready to get off this treadmill.” Others may think that we are not. I am saved…going to the heaven…Jesus did all work…I am just going to sit back and wait for it to all play out. However, the Truth is we are in a race and the Coach of our team is expecting us to cross the finish line and obtain the prize. Please do not immediately go to where I would have the natural tendency to go and think, “Great! Another blog about working harder and striving more.” This is not about endeavoring or accomplishing. For me, it would be easier if that where the case. If I were just given a list and told to accomplish this and the first one done wins, I’d be all in and quickly asking, “Where do I register and pick up my uniform?”
But rather the race is about following God’s call and direction in our own lives and trust in His ways and the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit to accomplish it. Paul shares in I Corinthians 9:24-27 what the purpose of the race is, how we are to run it and why we need to run as God would call us to run.
Let’s look at the purpose of the race: to obtain the prize. What is that prize? I don’t know what it is but I know that it is amazing, stupendous and beyond our wildest imagination. The reason I know this is that the prize is from God. In Hebrews, it says that if you want to please the Lord you have to believe that He exists and that He is a Rewarder. The demons believe – even know – that He exists but what makes us different is that we know He is a Rewarder. If God gives it, it is always good.
So we are in the race and we have this prize we will get at the end that is imperishable, how than am we to run this race? Paul points out two ways. First, we are to run with self-control in all things. We must practice delayed gratification. We must choose the best over the good. We must defer to the greater mission and not our selfish desires.
Secondly, we are to run with efficiency and effectiveness. Paul says we are not like boxers aimlessly beating the air but we are to be disciplined. A boxer trains his body to have reflexes that are fast. He knows that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line so a quick jab to the jaw will be more effectual. We need to learn life hacks to run this race God has called us to. Hacks that will make us more effective and efficient with our time, talents and treasures.
Finally, why do we need to run this race and run it in a way that allows us to win the prize? Paul makes it clear, “…lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” Whether we like it or not, we are always on a pulpit. There is constantly someone watching. There are cheerleaders and opposing fans looking at the way we are running this race. What are you preaching from your pulpit? Preach in such a way that you and those around you will all get the prize.