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!