1 Corinthians 9:24
Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. (NASB)
I have loved running for as long as I can remember. However, the fact that I love and enjoy it does not mean that I am actually good at it. I must admit my times leave much to be desired when compared to those around me. So why do I run? Because I compete with myself. I am always trying to improve, if only by a few seconds.
On occasion, I run 5K races. Despite a clear understanding that I will not likely finish first, I take great comfort in knowing that I will finish the race. I enjoy racing, seeing people cheering on the sidelines, and the smiles and words of encouragement from other runners. Even though I cross the finish line well into the pack, I win. I win because I finished the race instead of staying at home in my warm comfy bed afraid to compete. Because I conquered my pride that tells me “the past is good enough,” or that I’ll fail by another’s measure and that I probably wouldn’t come in first anyway. I win.
This is how we should live out our Christian lives. Always trying to improve; always in competition with our past. Not to simply compare ourselves to those around us, for they are running a different race; a race that God has laid out specifically for them. However, we can be encouragers of those who are running with us. Each believer should run in pursuit of the prize – the prize of finishing the race. The prize of letting Him refine us, mold us, shape us into something more pleasing and better than our past. Not for our own glory, but for the glory of God. So that one day we may lay our prize, our trophy, our crown at the feet of Jesus.