Run to Win
One of the greatest and most well known sporting events in the world is the Olympics. The Olympic games have a long tradition of competition, which at this point include more than 200 nations. There are thousands of athletes who come from these nations in order to compete with the best of the best. And, there are millions of people across the globe who gather to see these athletes compete.
Some of the most popular Olympic events are the track and field events. It is an incredible thing to see athletes strain with all of their might and energy in order to win a race. As a matter of fact, these Olympians train for years to get their bodies in peak condition for one reason alone, to win. They discipline themselves in ways we might not ever imagine, from what they eat to the stress they put on their body all to get themselves to the point of being able to achieve their goal. For them winning is the goal, it is the ultimate end. This goal in many ways could be seen as their life, even if only for the years that they train.
The games are nothing new. People long before the modern Olympics enjoyed watching the games. The Greeks held two games, the Olympic and Isthmian games. Throughout his letters, Paul used the competition of these games as illustrations of living the Christian life. In 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 Paul gives the church an incredible charge, “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. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.”
The incredible reality is that we are all in a race whether we realize it or not. Paul wants the church to understand that their life in Christ is a race, and the goal is the Glory of God! No person running a race merely walks in the race, they run with all their might in order to win! This is how we as Christians should view our life in Christ. It is not a matter of meandering through life just hoping to make it through, we are to run to win. We are to run with purpose! And, we are to run with discipline! The way a runner strives and strains with all his energy to win a race is how Christians are to view their Christian walk. We are to give it our all. We are to push ourself at every turn to make sure that our life represents clearly the great Savior who gave us life!
We have the great honor of bearing the name of Christ, and it is for that reason that Paul says “I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” The point is that he knows whose name he bears, and he is committed to live in such a way to make sure that when people see him they see Christ. Is that how you live? Whether you realize it or not, people are watching Christians to see if they live like the world or whether they live like Christ. We were not only given heaven when we came to Christ, we were given the name of Son and Daughter. Therefore, understand the great stakes that your life represents. Know that this life is a race and the goal is the Glory of God. So, in everything that you do make sure that you “run to win”!