The Bible often compares the Christian life to a race. We read from the book of Hebrews – “…let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us.” (Hebrews 12:1 NLT) The words used in this passage seem to indicate that God has laid out a special course in life for each of us to follow. God has chosen a particular path He wants me to follow and a particular path He wants you to follow. Though our paths may often intersect, each of us has a unique course designed specifically for us by the Master.
There are certain great truths that pertain to every believer’s race:
1) IT IS A RACE OF FAITHFULNESS
The Christian race is a marathon and not just a sprint. Almost every Christian starts off with great excitement and intention. They purchase a Bible and start reading. They join a church and get involved. They talk about God and sing His praises. But then as time wears on and the excitement wears off, many begin to fall away. Paul spoke of one such Christian named Demas. “Demas has deserted me, because he loved this present world…” (2 Timothy 4:10 CSB) At one time Demas was called a fellow-worker with Paul. (see Philemon 1:24) But something else in this world grabbed his attention and Demas decided that he would rather invest his life in the things of this world, than in the things of God. What a contrast Paul was to Demas. Consider some of Paul’s last words.
2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. 8 And now the prize awaits me — the crown of righteousness that the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on that great day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his glorious return. NLT
2) IT IS A RACE OF FAITH
The race we run is not a competition with other Christians. God is not encouraging us to try to outdo each other. It is not a race of fame. It’s a race of faith. Why do I say this?
A. It Takes Faith to Please God
We read from the book of Hebrews – “It is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that there is a God and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6 NLT) The basis of our relationship with God is faith. It requires faith to believe in a God we’ve never seen. (1 Peter 1:8) It takes faith to believe that He and He alone provides a way for us to be forgiven of our sins and to find heaven. (John 14:6) And it takes faith to believe that He will reward all those who faithfully keep running towards Him. (Heb 11:6)
B. The Race Itself is Often a Test of Our Faith
James 1:2 Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. 3 For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. NLT
Everyone has great faith when the road is smooth. But only the faithful have faith when the road gets rough.
There is much more for us to learn about our Christian race and therefore I hope that you will join me again tomorrow. God bless as you run the race today.