To Run Is To Win
“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize?… Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty.”
1 Corinthians 9:24, 26 (NKJV)
Professional runners train hard, and deny themselves in order to keep in peak condition. They are focused on the race ahead of them, setting their training programme to bring them to the height of fitness just at the time of the race. They do this because they know that, for all the preparation that goes into their running, only one runner will win. The work of all the other athletes will, in one sense, have been in vain.
The apostle Paul uses this analogy to encourage the church at Corinth. He says that he himself keeps his body spiritually fit, that he disciplines his body to keep it in control. He does not allow himself to wander from the path of Jesus. He urges us to do the same, to be spiritually aware and in training like an athlete.
But he does this, not with the uncertainty of only one winner, but with the surety that all who enter the race will win!
You see, with us, the race is in fact already run and already won. Jesus has gone ahead and entered the race and won the race on our behalf. This does not release us from Paul’s encouragement to do our best and to strive for the mastery but it does mean that we do this, guaranteed of victory.
Now that the outcome is certain, it is an encouragement to live our life in accord with the principles of the athlete in training. It is not an excuse to do nothing. Our efforts at living a life in harmony with Jesus do not affect the outcome of the race but are the natural response to what has been done for us.
Further it is this example that will bear witness to Jesus as we live this life amongst those with whom we come into contact each and every day.
Father in heaven, thank you so much for the race that Jesus has won for me. Help me to show my gratitude by my response in seeking to live my life in accordance with the example and instruction of my Saviour. Let me be in training constantly assured of the victory that is in Jesus.
Study by David Stirk