I like the way Apostle Paul in the book of Corinthians talks about running the race and winning the prize, the verse goes like this:-
1Corinthians 9:24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
Believe it or not we are in a RACE not a rat race. To me RACE means Raised Alongside Christ for Eternity. Before we even start running we need to understand a few basic parameters. The first thing we need to understand is that we are not ‘fans’ of Jesus Christ but we are followers. Fans are seasonal. For example if a sports star is out of form and losing on a continual basis, we see a decrease in the fan following. His tweets are no more retweeted, people don’t like him on facebook. He is no more seen on commercials etc. The conclusion drawn is that people expected this sports star to act according to their expectation, that is to win at all times but the moment he does something else they don’t like him anymore. Similarly a lot of believers do not act according to the word of God when the situations are not according to their desires or they do not get what they are praying for. So they chose to look for some other inspiration or quick fixes to get what they desire. This is the point where they take the bait, they are in the race of God for the godly crown but the ways and the tactics are not at all godly. They change lane whenever they feel like, they piggy ride someone for sometime, or become stumbling blocks for the other co -runners. In this case they are disqualified of the race because every race has rules. Matthew 6:33 “33″But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” In other words make your goals and guidelines according to His word.
If you are in the kingdom of God then you are God’s plan and His responsibility. Generally a lot of ministers and believers are victims of competition. They try hard to fit into someone else’s shoes as they want to run the race according to their whims. This causes them to stumble followed by living a hypocritical Christian life. One of the main reasons for burn outs is competition. Surprisingly not many ministers and believers know that they are over exhausted in the race. Because they want to run a marathon as if they are running a 100 meter sprint.
The facts we must consider before running a good and a successful race.
- Rule No.1) John 14:6 Jesus said that I am the way, If He is the way then His ways are the right ways. The reason we run is to be with Him and be like Him.
- Rule No. 2) Why are you in the race? Being aimless as we read in the above passage(1Cor 9:24) is not going to help. You need to ask yourself some tough questions. Why are you in the Church? To fulfill your worldly desires or Godly desires. Is it your aim to be on the church board or to be caught up in the air when the Lord comes etc. Answers to such question will give you a clear picture of your goals. You also need to compare it with God’s word to see whether they are right or not.
- Rule No. 3) Train hard In 2Timothy 4: 7 Apostle Paul says I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. This race is not for the faint hearted, the key to win is that you have to fight with the principalities of darkness so have faith at all the times and in all circumstances. Jesus led by example and taught us that what it is to stand firm in the faith. He was faithful till His death. Stand firm in your faith because the outcome has been decided no matter what the situation is you will win. Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.
Last but not the least every race needs a gear change or change in speed. Ecclesiastes 3 talks about time. There is a time for everything and when you wait upon God’s timing you will renew your strength. And with the renewed strength you can go far. God has called you to be a light not lightning. You are called for a Marathon you are called to go far but if you are lightning fast you will have small and alone moments of glory and nobody will benefit although there can be adverse effects. Remember your prize is from God. I remember the 1992 Olympics where injured Derek Redmond with the help of his father completed the race. He did not win the medal but he won the heart of every single person in the stadium that day and it still inspires us. No matter what happens Deut 31:6 “for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” HE will see you through to the finish line.
Love & prayers from
Pr. T.Bakshi & Neha Bakshi
The Well Diggers Ministry.