Running the Race as a Winner
Doesn’t everyone want to be a winner – to be a success? God wants you to be a winner in the game of life. In Hebrews 12:11 Paul equates the Christian with the Roman athletes who live to win the race. These men wouldn’t have thought much of the attitude that says, “It isn’t whether you win or lose that counts, it’s how you play the game.” The athletes of Rome would have said, “If you play the game right, you will win.” The runner, now and then, has his eye on only one thing – the goal.
A runner never carries anything with him. He/she even looks for light weight clothes that won’t restrict movement. The contender Paul was talking about was either training or running – he had no divided loyalties.
We live in a world where we learn from the cradle that we must succeed and success equals money and power. Our preoccupation with money weighs us down. We struggle with sin[i]. We are tempted to take on new sin. we constantly remind ourselves of our old sins, and we trip over someone else’s sin. No one could run with such encumbrances.
If we are going to run the race of life that Paul talked about, the first step is to enter, and for that there is only one condition. The one and only standard is faith in the One who already ran and won, paving the way for us.
If you have not chosen to believe Messiah (Christ) is your Savior, now is the time to do it. Then, and only then, you will be ready to run the race as a winner. As Paul explained to the Romans, (Romans 3:10,23) The Torah tells us that no one is righteous because everyone falls short of God’s glory (perfection). Imperfection results in death (separation from God) as Paul said in Romans 6:23. When we choose to agree with God that we are sinners (imperfect before our Creator) and that sin’s result is death[ii]; we are ready to find a remedy. We want to be reconciled to our Creator God. Paul explains how in Romans 8:2-4. As Eugene Peterson puts it:
“A new power is in operation. The spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death.”
When we make the choice to believe that Jesus paid the price of sin and death and say so (as Paul told the Romans in 10:9,10, 13) we have life[iii] in Messiah through eternity. Praise his blessed name. We are in the race.
Prayer: Lord, you are the foundation of my salvation. The Mighty One, and you are very great. You are opening the eyes of my understanding and giving me wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of you. I have tasted of your goodness and I am hungry and thirsty to know more. You are my refuge and my strength. I make a conscious commitment to know what the greatness of your power is toward me and you have promised to demonstrate your power in my life. And blessed be the name of the Lord God from this time forth and forevermore.
[i] Sin is anything that falls short of God’s character and perfection. The Law of God, given to Moses was meant to show us what perfection looks like. Used here, it is the shortcomings and imperfections we see in ourselves.
[ii] Death is separation from God and eventual separation from our bodies.
[iii] We are no longer separated from God and when we are separated from our bodies, it is to be given a body that will never die.