Scripture has a way of describing situations and events better than any other source on Earth and this is especially true with the way scripture speaks of our Christian life. Our walk here on Earth, our Christian life, is compared to that of a physical race. No, we should not be confused that we are up against other individuals during our race but rather, the Christian life is similar to that of a physical race.
A race against multiple individuals can be a grueling and daunting task which is why we must be in excellent physical shape. Runners are some of the best conditioned and highly toned athletes in the world and they have to be to endure the obstacles and tasks that they go up against. Our walk here on Earth, the Christian life, is like any other life as it is filled with obstacles and tasks that we must overcome but living a Christian life, while similar to an ordinary life, takes on a different meaning.
No, this does not mean that we are exempt from any of the temptations that found below nor are we excluded from troubles, trials, and tribulations but we are set apart by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We know this from different pieces of scripture but because we are in Christ and Christ is in us, we must live a life that is set apart from this worldly system and represent Christ. After all, the main goal and objective of a race is finish. It’s not enough to just run it but we must finish it and Paul tells us this in 1 Corinthians 9:24, writing: “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.”
All throughout the year, a runner trains for their race and they do all they can to be prepared both mentally and physically for the task set before them. A sporting event, especially a physical race, is not just won physically but also, mentally. Many of these races not only tests one’s physical endurance but also, tests the mental endurance of a runner and the same is true for a believer and their walk here below. We may be physically prepared for the battles that we will encounter here below but it’s the mental grind that challenges many of us.
Our walk is compared to a race because we must endure it all the way to the end like a champion but we must do so by cooperating with God and doing so fairly (Christlike): “And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully” (2 Timothy 2:5).
Paul says in his letter to the church of Corinth “but one receievth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain” which lets us know that our Christian walk should be taken seriously and we do have prize waiting for us to obtain. Of course, the prize that he is talking about is not a physical trophy or anything here below but rather, our eternal salvation with Christ. Although salvation is not something that any man can take away from us, not even Satan, as it is given to us through our faith and belief in Christ, it is a process that is never ending.
While we are justified, we must continue to live for Christ the best way that we can through sanctification and just like a race, even if we stumble and fall, we must get up, dust ourselves off and continue on. The prize that is ahead of us is ours and we must finish our race: “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).
Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.”–1 Corinthians 9:24