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Running The Race

Jeremiah 12:5

" If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied

thee, how canst thou contend with horses?

The Christian life is compared to a 'race' in Scripture. Paul tells us

in 1 Corinthians 9:24 to run in such a way that we may

obtain the prize.

Athletes that compete in worldly races do everything in their power

to ensure victory. They spend years training, getting their talents

and bodies into shape, so they can perform to the best of their

ability. They eat, drink, sleep, and live their chosen sport.

They exercise incredible restraint, enduring endless days of

rigorous training. Their competition is the ultimate

in discipline and endurance.

Athletes do not carry 'excess baggage.' They travel 'light.'

They lay aside every thing that would in any way hinder,

disqualify or prevent them from attaining their goal.

We, as Christian in a race, have a goal to attain. In our heavenly

race we must not let anything hinder or affect the outcome of

our race. Paul says in 1Corinthians 9:26: I run, not as

uncertainly: so fight I not as one that beateth the air..."

The Olympic hopefuls knew what they had to do in order

to win the prize, Paul knew, and we know, for the course

for our race is charted in God's rule book, the Bible.

Galatians 5:7

"Ye did run well. Who did hinder you? The word

'hinder' in this verse speaking of the progress in the

Christian life. Virtually meaning:

"Who broke up the road along which you were

traveling so well?"

Paul and the athletes, recognized there was a 'fight'

involved in the process of running a race and crossing

the finish line a winner.

Hebrews 12:1 tells us to "lay aside every weight and the

sin that besets us." To do so, we must first identify and

recognize them for what they are. Hindrances are as

individual as the person. A 'weight' is a hindrance; anything

that would slow us down or get in the way of our progress.

The 'sin' is a specific disobedience, a prevailing sin we

need to get the victory over. The weights and sins that

beset us have to be cast off, and forsaken. The flesh that

demands it's own way has to be kept in subjection.

The word "beset" in the Greek means to: "stand

around in a competition, to thwart a racer in every

direction."

A race horse is a good example of strength, power and

endurance in running a race. Sleek and powerful, they are

intent on reaching the finish line, looking neither to

the right or the left, but straight ahead.

As Christians in the race that God has set before us, our

goal is to reach the finish line. To do this, we must keep our

eyes on Jesus, looking neither right or left, and "press"

(speeding earnestly, pursuing) towards the goal.

Our course is mapped out and at times we will be

running in adverse conditions. Our course will involve,

jumping hurdles thrown into our way by the enemy,

 hills and valleys. Our enemy is

continuously trying to block our progress at every

turn. He is intent on our defeat and ultimate destruction.

There is 'enduring' to be done on our race track, and our

motivation is Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith.

The One that endured the cross live in us so that we can

endure. If we fall or get 'off track' Jesus is there to pick us

up and get us back on course. God tells us in:

Isaiah 41:10

" Fear thou not, for I am with thee, be not dismayed for

I am with thee, yea; I will uphold thee with the right hand

of my righteousness."

Running our race successfully and enduring involves

encouragement from others. We are "compassed (surrounded)

by a great cloud of witnesses." We are instructed to look at

others who have made it, who have finished their course.

Running our race also involves encouragement from each

other. We are fellow-runners in the race, and as such,

should be able to depend on each other for strength and

encouragement.

When we are weak, God has promised in

Isaiah 10:31

"They that wait (hope in) upon the Lord shall renew

their strength, they shall mount up with wings as

eagles, they shall run and not be weary; and they

shall walk and not faint."

The word 'renew' in this verse meaning:

"To exchange our strength for His."

Then, like the powerful race horse, keeping our eyes on

the finish line, we will complete our course. We know

that Jesus is waiting for us at the finish line.

We will be able to say, like the Apostle Paul...

" I have finished my course!"