Are You Running to Win?

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The Word of God often utilizes athletic terms to describe both the positive and negative aspects of the Christian life, especially when depicting a Christian as a runner running in a race.

Twice in the book of Galatians we see the negative examples portrayed in this way: “I went up because of a revelation and set before them - though privately before those who seemed influential - the gospel that I proclaim among the Gentiles, in order to make sure I was not running or had not run in vain” (Galatians 2:2), and “You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?” (Galatians 5:7).  The apostle Paul and the writer of Hebrews also gave us two positive examples of a believer running in the celestial race toward the finish line of Heaven when they said, “…Run in such a way that you may win” (1 Corinthians 9:24), and “…run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…” (Hebrews 12:1-2). The Christian’s life is running after the goal of Heaven and it is manifested by Christlikeness. Each day is a refocusing of the whole of his life upon Christ alone (Philippians 1:21 – “For to me to live is Christ…”; and Colossians 3:4 – “When Christ who is your life...”)! Now if these goals are faithfully before us, our lives should be noticeably different from those of the on-looking world (2 Corinthians 5:17). Put simply, such lives are markedly set-apart for, and perseveringly consumed with, God’s priorities (Philippians 3:13; Proverbs 24:16). The Biblical word that describes this type of life is “holy.” And the Christian is to be characterized by a continual pursuit of this holiness. While discussing how Jesus had kept the Law perfectly for us and how we should, in gratitude, pursue holiness of life, John Calvin said, “…Scripture accordingly teaches us that this holiness is the goal of our calling to which we must ever look if we would answer God when He calls.” O child of God, are you running in the heavenly race or are you running out of gas? O servant of God, are you daily fixing your eyes upon Jesus or are you consumed with your own selfish ends? O lover of God, are you pursuing holiness or dabbling with worldliness? If you answered in the negative to any of those three searching questions, repent and get your life in line with God’s will for your life. Then, be sure that God will share His holiness with you (Hebrews 12:10), for He has chosen us to be holy (Ephesian 1:4) and has made us holy (1 Corinthians 6:11). He has commanded us to live practically Holy, each day, as He is holy (1 Peter 1:16). Our responsibility is to follow hard after His sanctifying work in our lives (John 17:17-19). This is why the writer of Hebrews (12:14) exhorts all professing believers to “Pursue … holiness without which no one will see the Lord.”  Are you running the Christian life to win?

 

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