Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain – 1Cor. 9:24 KJV
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The scripture in reference today is a comment made by the Apostle Paul in his attempt to describe his Christian life. In doing that, he compares his life’s journey to a race – 1Cor 9:26. Same can be said of the life of every human being as the entire journey of life can actually be viewed as a race that we joined at the beginning of life and will drop off on the day we take our last breathe on earth.
Four things however stand out in every race:
1. It is a competition
2. There are several competitors
3. There is a time frame for the race
4. There is a price for successfully running the race.
If our life is a race then this competition must be about an objective or a price. Knowing this objective is where the journey should start from but unfortunately this is where most people miss it. Man was not properly informed about what the objective of this competition that we have found ourselves in is all about. In the absence of proper orientation and starting with a wrong objective we get pulled into the deception of the devil and that gives the devil advantage in the competition. Human beings have actually found themselves in a competition that they did not apply to join but remain the main athletes in. This competition is simply one between the Almighty God and the Devil as to who will harvest more souls at the end of this world. It is a competition for souls.
Most people wrongly believe it is a competition amongst men as to who can acquire the greatest advantage in terms of worldly possessions or achievements. Standards such as the richest, most powerful, the most widely read, fame and similar ones become the benchmark for assessing success in this race of life. While some with this wrong objective in mind, take this competition very seriously and will go to any extent to achieve these goals, some simply give up and allow the winds of life to blow them in whatever direction it so desires. With the real actors behind this competition being God and the Devil, human beings remain just competitors and investments of the actors’ manager. Both actors’ managers provide resources (such as money, position, game, children, etc.) for the competitors that are willing to sign into their team so as to sustain them throughout their period of involvement in the race. The truth is that none of these resources will be useful at the time of assessment of each athlete (judgement day) but how the resources are used will form the basis of the assessment. So it will for example, not be how much money you had during the race but how you put the resources to use.
Like in some sports that consists of several events such as the decathlon that has ten events, the race of life has different events that men participate in during their life time although in the case of life, the list of events are not same for every one. At the point of assessment of performance, the last event participated in during the race is used to determine overall performance of each athlete – Ez. 18:21-24. Good performances in previous events but a bad performance in the last event before bowing out of the race will mean failure in the entire race of life and a loss of soul by God. The reverse is also true and valid. This is unlike the case of decathlon with ten events where low performance in one event can be made up for in the next event and an athlete that performed low in a particular event may still come back to win the competition.
Of course the time allotted to each athlete for the race varies depending on the life span of the individual on earth whilst the price is that statement that we expect to hear welcoming us into the kingdom of God and the crown of glory that we expect to wear after we have excelled in this race. This will help to decide our fate in eternity – 2Tim. 4:7-8; Matt. 25:21.
Many Christians however seem to be running a race with a different objective to the advantage of God’s main rival in this competition who is the devil. Their race is to achieve the goal of being the richest, most powerful, one with the greatest influence and similar objectives in a godless manner and in the process give the devil an advantage in this competition with God. This is why God remains in grief for creating man – Gen 6:6. When we run this race in this manner, we actually disappoint our God who is the creator of all souls and give more souls to the devil who did not create any soul in the first instance. The devil definitely gives a reward too for running this race in this manner but the joy of that reward will only last for as long as the individual is here because such individual can only hope for an eternity in hell. The devil is not contesting this with God as heaven is God’s and hell is the place allotted to the devil and his victims – Matt. 25:41. They would have lost in the end but the greater loser is the Almighty God who would have lost another soul to the devil, an event that continues to cause grieve for God because of his deep love for mankind – Jn. 3:16.
The way you run this race depends on what goal you have set for yourself. If your goal is to give the devil advantage them you can forget all the laws of God and live an ungodly life not minding what will happen or where your destination will be at the end of the race.
If however your goals are as follows,
1. To support God to win this race against a thief called the devil who has only come to steal, kill and destroy what he has not created Jn. 10:10.
2. To receive the welcome song as a faithful servant and a redeemed child of God so you can wear the glorious crown and inherit everlasting rewards – Matt. 25:34; 2Tim. 4:7-8,
then I am happy for you. The following points among others will help you in achieving this laudable objective.
1. You must go beyond mouthing your love for God and move into doing His Will – Matt. 7:21; Jms. 1:22.
2. You must take up the character of a child when it comes to your relationship with God – Matt. 18:3.
3. You must be willing to sacrifice earthly possessions where necessary or where it is standing as an obstacle between you and the Almighty God – Matt. 19:16-24.
4. You must avoid all those acts that make the devil proud and happy – 1Cor. 6:9-10.
5. You must take deliberate steps that will encourage and help your race in seeking the kingdom of God – Acts 2: 38-41.
We shall in the days ahead be digging deep into some of these points as I pray that God will give us strength to run our earthly race in a manner that will shame the devil and bring joy to our creator in Jesus name – Amen.