Running for Gold…(Streets, That Is)

Crawling…walking…running…I’ve seen it all these past two weeks of the Tokyo Olympics. Some have literally crawled to the finish line. Others walked across the finish line in exhaustion, while others ran their race well and won gold.  

I’ve also seen this very same thing in the church. It’s not always an easy life to live or an easy race to run as a believer. Many have crawled away from their faith. Still others are walking in total exhaustion. Then there are those who are running an excellent race. What is this race we are commanded to run? How do we run the race? Where is the finish line?

Hebrews chapter 11 is known as the “faith” chapter, not because the writer defines faith, but describes how faith works. After a list of faith heroes and their examples of a life of faith (v.4-40) the writer shifts to the “race of faith” in chapter twelve

Hebrews 12:1 tells us that that race is already set before us. God has designed the entire course. If we stay on track and run in our given lane, God promises a course that leads to victory and life. But if we swerve into someone else’s lane or a lane of our own making, we could be disqualified.

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. (1 Cor.9:24)

Paul speaks many times about this faith race. When he says that only one wins the prize, he is saying that the one who runs God’s set race will always be victorious. We cannot have a mindset of defeat…only victory. How do we assure ourselves of that victory? By holding on to God’s Word.

Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain. (Phil.2:14-16)

In the letter to the church at Philippi, Paul declares that it is the Word of God that gives us power, strength, and endurance to run such a race. Every precept, every promise, every admonition in scripture, every commandment becomes the substance on which we run. If our life of faith is the race, God’s Word is the course. What an amazing picture! (See WORD WISDOM for a deeper study of commandment)

I will run the course of Your commandments, for You shall enlarge my heart. (Ps.119:32)

In 2 Timothy 4:7 Paul takes a moment to glory in the fact that he has “fought the good fight and finished the course.” Paul finished that scripture with this, “I have kept the faith.” You see, our life is faith is the race. Will you be able to say the same thing?

We are reminded in Ecclesiastes (Ecc. 9:11) that the race is “not for the swift.” It’s not about how quickly we exploded out of the starting blocks. It is not how fast we run. It is enduring to the end…having run a mighty race. One day, we will win gold…streets of gold in the presence of the King! Amen!

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