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Run To Win

I live in an area that has annual marathons and Iron Man competitions. They shut down major thoroughfares so that these athletes can compete and push themselves. I’ve enjoyed going to the events to cheer on people as they run past me. I’ve even been to the finish line at the final hour of the day as the Iron Man athletes finished their race. Aside from the traffic, you can always tell when one of these races are happening. At restaurants and stores, there are tons of people walking around with well deserved medals around their necks that say, “Finisher”. I try to congratulate them when I see them. They worked hard, trained, showed up, competed and ran their race. After all these years, I’ve never seen a medal that says, “Winner”. Only one person gets to wear that one.

In today’s world, we have apps and coaches that can help you finish the race. That’s what most people train for. They want to say they ran the course and finished the race. In Biblical times, they didn’t have those things, nor did they give out awards for finishers. Only one person won the wreath. Only one person was recognized for their efforts. Because of that, people ran in the races in order to win, not just finish. There’s a different type of training involved when you’re running to win versus running to finish. There’s another level of intensity involved when it comes to the mindset of winning. It takes greater discipline and focus when you train to win. That’s the type of life you and I are called to live.

1 Corinthians 9:24 says, “Surely you know that many runners take part in a race, but only one of them wins the prize. Run, then, in such a way as to win the prize” (GNT). In your Christian life, have you been running in order to finish or to win? Have you just been doing what it takes to get by? We live in a time where we must have the mindset that we’re running to win. We have to discipline our body, mind and spirit in such a manner that we are running to win this race. There’s another gear inside you that you haven’t used yet. As Philippians 3:14 says, we must press on towards the mark for the high calling of God. We are called to run as though we were going to win. It’s time to find that next gear and go!

Photo by Mārtiņš Zemlickis on Unsplash

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Running To Win

I went to a pretty small high school where if you were athletic, you pretty much played every sport. If you ran track, you didn’t just run one race, you ran several which meant several heats for each race. We had to be in great shape. I remember my running coach teaching me to breathe a certain way so that I wouldn’t get that pain in my side. She also taught me aerodynamics so that my body would channel the wind. Then there was the conditioning to get my body in shape to survive so many races. I put a lot of miles on my shoes so that I could win the races I ran. After high school, I decided had ran enough miles for a lifetime, but in the course of it, I had won many races.

Running takes discipline and mental strength to push through when your body wants to quit. It’s a lot like living out your faith. It takes being dedicated, being mentally focused and being disciplined. Your flesh is always fighting against you and is trying to slow you down so you have to be prepared mentally to push back. It tries to play against your sympathies to get you to stumble and fall. You have to be disciplined enough to catch it early so you can stop that line of thinking. You also have to keep your eyes on what’s at stake in your life and in the lives of others. It’s not a 5k Fun Run. This is more like a marathon or an Iron Man. Every part of you must be disciplined so that you’re making determined progress and are be becoming more like Christ every day.

1 Corinthians 9:24 says, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run [their very best to win], but only one receives the prize? Run [your race] in such a way that you may seize the prize and make it yours!” (AMP) Each of us are running the race God has called us to. No one can run your race for you. It’s up to you to run your race in a manner that you’re not just providing traffic for the other runners, but that you’re running in order to win. When you’re running to win, you push yourself to stay in the front of the race. You lean on lessons you’ve learned from the past and ensure that you’re spiritually fit. You use the discipline of reading and applying God’s Word to keep you on track. You continually seek God and His presence so you can endure. You invite the Holy Spirit into your life to encourage you daily to keep going. If you’re going to live a life of faith, be 100% committed and give it your all.

Photo by Fitsum Admasu on Unsplash

Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

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Endurance Running

If you’ve never heard of an Iron Man race or been to one, the people who do it are incredible. The race starts off with a 3 mile open water swim. Then they ride a bike for over 120 miles. Once they’re done with that, they have to run a marathon. Did I mention that it all has to be done on the same day and within a certain timeframe? These men and women push their body’s to the limit like nothing I’ve ever seen. To me, they are the very picture of endurance.

There’s an old saying that goes, “It’s not the mountains ahead that wears you out; it’s the grain of sand in your shoe.” To run with endurance, and to run to win, we need to get rid of sin in our lives, even small ones. They keep us from running our race the way God wants us to. We must discipline our flesh and our spirit through prayer, reading God’s Word, and running alongside other believers to be able to endure the race we’ve been given. We each have a certain time frame within which we must run our race, so we need to run to win.

Hebrews 12:1 tells us, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us” (NLT). We each have our own race to run in life. Some of us will run a short distance, some will run a 5k, others a half marathon or a marathon, while others an Iron Man. Whatever race God has set before you, run with endurance and don’t compare your race to someone else’s.

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Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

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Dreams And Goals


I like to ask people, “What’s the difference between a dream and a goal?” A lot of people struggle with this question at first because it’s hard to articulate on the spot. But think about it for a second. They’re very similar with one exception. A goal is something you have a plan for in order to accomplish it. Dreams are usually large goals without a plan. The problem is most of us think we have set goals when really all we have done is created a bunch of dreams without a plan to accomplish them.

The people I know who are goal oriented aren’t easily swayed into doing things that don’t align with their goals. They know exactly what they need to do in order to accomplish them and they are pretty disciplined. Dreamers aren’t as disciplined. They live with their heads in the clouds and are easily knocked off course by distractions. Unfortunately that’s the way many of us live our lives and it bleeds into our faith as well. We’re living for Christ without a purpose, and that’s dangerous. 

One night on a roof in Egypt, the head of middle east missions for a large denomination asked me, “What’s your goal as a Christian?” I had never thought of that. I answered almost asking a question, “To get to Heaven?” He said, “We’ve found your answer is not enough to live a spiritually successful life. You’ve got to have other goals if you’re going to impact this world.” That question and answer haunted me for months. Our goal can’t be to just get to Heaven. We’ll live spiritually unfulfilled lives if it is.

In I Corinthians 9:24, Paul mentions that in a race, everyone runs, but only one wins. He then tells us to run to win. Verse 26 says, “Therefore I do not run without a definite goal” (AMP). Not only are we to run to win the ultimate prize, we are to run with purpose. We are to run with goals. To keep from being easily distracted by all this world has to offer, and to keep our head out of the clouds, we need to have spiritual goals. There’s no other way for us to have the impact on this world that we’re called to have.

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