The Christian life can be compared to a race. The New Testament draws a parallel from this metaphor, as to the endurance required of believers. (Mat 13:18-23) If we would partake of the prize set before us, we must remember the words of Jesus that “He that shall endure unto the end” get the greatest prize of all (Mat 24:13; 10:22; Mark 13:13).
In any contest, the important factor is not how many begin the competition but who finishes the race and completes the course, who wins the prize. Late in life, Paul declared, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness …” (2 Thes 4:7, 8). Scripture says we are to “run with patience (endurance, persistence) the race set before us, looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith … For consider Him that endured … lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.” (Heb 12:1-3)
Becoming Weary Often times we become so weary or may I say tired with what life’s circumstances. We then lose patience, endurance and persistence to keep on keeping on and our vision becomes skewed and we stop looking at the bigger picture. This September My son and I ran a half marathon for the first time in our lives. I was running well until I reached the 10th mile. It was at that time that I felt like giving up running and ending the race. However, something happened in my mind that kept me going-the resolve to finish the race! You see, keeping my eyes on the finished line and not on the immediate pain in my legs kept me going. This is a lesson that we can apply to life: when we become weary with life or life’s circumstances we need to look at the bigger picture-the finish line! As Christians we need to look at Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith for He has all the resources to help reach His desired destination for us—Heaven.
The Bigger Picture
Many focus on the initial speed of their progress, but overlook one far greater factor of successful athletic competition: consistency. We may start out in the front lines, leading, but if our progress is not consistent — if we become entangled with the affairs of this life (2 Tim 2:4; Gal 5:1) — we will fall back as we weary with the stress of the race.
The bigger picture in it all, is to realize that our lives in eternity are being affected now by the many choices we make daily. We need to daily make the choices that will build usup and lead us in a direction of well being, healthy thinking, healthy relationships, and “peaceful living.” We need to keep our minds in the right place. The Apostle Paul Explained it this way: seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right
hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. Seek, set and hide. These three words are key ingredients into how we can keep our eyes on the bigger picture. By Seeking God’s will in all things, setting our minds on His word, His will and His presence, and realizing that my life is entrusted to Christ as well as that I can trust Him for the outcome that will be to His glory, can assist me in looking at my life and my circumstances through the lens of God. Doing this will allow me to have a much improved attitude and perspective. Someone once said “attitude is like a flat tire, you will not be able to go anywhere until you change it.” This is so true!Seeking the things that are above, setting my mind on God’s agenda and hiding my life behind His truly can aid me to live life from a very positive perspective.
Finishing the Race
You see, the race is not given to the swift but the person that will endure until the end (Eccl. 9:11). In order to finish the race of life well, we need that endurance that can only come from above. We cannot afford to become entangled with the affairs or bad attitudes of this life, for if we do, we will fall back as we weary with the stress of the race. We must choose to set our minds on the things above as we seek the things above. We must daily hide ourselves behind our great protector-Jesus Christ. With His help we can see life through His eyes and live it in His strength.
Our lives in eternity are being affected now by the many choices we make daily. “Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience (endurance), that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.” (Heb 10:35-36). May the outcome of our daily choices be such that we experience the blessing of His promises. My prayer is that we will all finish the race!