24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize1 Corinthians 9:24-27
Did you know that you’re in a race?
The first thing we need to understand is no matter what you believe, you are in this race full speed into eternity. The question is how are you running? What kind of results do you expect to see at the end of the race called “life”? You are either running to win the prize, which is eternal life, or you’re running in vain – on a treadmill.
Here’s the truth: everyone in this world has a destination – a place where they are going and everyone has a destiny (a purpose), but we determine what that is. God gives us a choice. He has a plan and either we choose His narrow path or we do our own thing.
Once the race is over, the winners will be those who endured until the end and crossed that finish line. This is not exactly like the Olympics, because everyone’s prize is based on finishing the race.
5 Type of Runners
There are some who will choose not to follow the rules and they will be disqualified. They either know about Jesus, but reject His salvation, or they accept His offer of salvation, but they don’t fulfill their commitment to Jesus and they get all the way to the end of their life, only to find out that they didn’t make it.
There are some who will begin to run with confidence, but they have a false idea of what it means to be a Christian, so they give up when they start to feel the burn from the trials of life.
The Lazy Runners
There are also those who will run and barely make it to the end, they don’t really do anything for God. They’re faith is dusty, their prayer life is dusty, and they have retired. They’re always on the edge of a cliff, but they go to heaven in the end. Unfortunately, this is the group many Christians fall into.
Others who will come so close and win many souls for Jesus Christ and help a lot of people, but as Paul mentioned they too will miss the mark and be disqualified, because they worked hard, but they allowed themselves to be ruled by the flesh.
Jesus says, “What does it profit a person to gain the whole world, and yet lose their own soul?” It doesn’t make any sense, but people fall into this trap of satan and he continues to use those same old tricks. See, we have to realize that we have these invisible enemies, these demonic forces that are waiting to get us in a vulnerable state, to cause us to lose everything that we worked so hard for.
Satan tried to do this to Jesus. He wanted Jesus to think that there was an easy way out. He told Jesus to bow down to him, but then Jesus wouldn’t be able to say, “It is finished”. Jesus said, “Away with you satan!”. Jesus told His disiples, “My bread is to do the will of my Father and to finish His work. We must finish the work that God has given us.
The First Place Runners
Finally, there are those who are determined. They are disciplining their bodies and their minds. These are the Christians, who come in first place, because they keep the faith, always believing no matter what. Not only do they believe, they defend the faith and are faithful until the end. To be this type of winner in Christ, it’s not only based on how many good works you’ve done, but your love for God and how you’ve carried your cross. This type of Christian wins the prize of eternal life and they have many rewards in heaven.
Listen, God saw us long before we saw Him and He was the first one to start running. Jesus finished the race to show us how to do it. He said, “He said in this life you will have trouble, (how did He know because HE when through it) but take heart I have already overcome this world.” Remember the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32? When we were desperate and dirty, unholy, and unworthy, God brought salvation through His Son Jesus Christ and it was marvelous in His sight. There is a huge celebration waiting for everyone who finishes the race and does it right.
While you’re running the race of life as a Christian, you will sweat, you will feel the burn, you will face disappointments, hurts, persecutions, oppositions and pain. Romans 8:37 says, “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
Paul says run to get the prize, run with a purpose knowing your destination, run to get a crown that will last forever, and discipline your body and your mind, so that nothing stands in the way of you hearing God say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant!”
If you don’t know Jesus as your personal Savior, then receive Him now. Your citizenship will be in heaven and you will become a child of God.
Romans 10:9-10 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.”
SAY this beginning PRAYER:
God I’m a sinner and right now I turn from my sins. I ask you to forgive my sins, that I may be right with you. I believe that Jesus Christ: lived, died and that He rose from the dead. Right now, I ask you Jesus to be my Savior and Lord, that I may have eternal life in heaven. Thank you God for saving me. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen!