Run the Race Set Before You
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.”
–1 Corinthians 9:24
Paul is writing to encourage the Corinthian church, near the end of his three-year ministry in Ephesus. The church was struggling with many issues, and Paul wanted to encourage believers to stay faithful. The recipients would have understood this athletic metaphor in this verse, as the city was the location of the Isthmian games. These were games that took place every two years. In alternating years, the Olympic and Pythian Games took place. Victors at these games, under Roman influence, received a crown of pine leaves.
When I first began to run, every step seemed daunting. There were times I felt I couldn’t even run down my own block. Step by step, and block by block I kept trying.
If you’ve ever run a race – a 5k, 10k, half marathon or marathon – you know when the race starts, people rush to take off and you can quickly get caught up in the excitement and energy of it all! You feel like you could fly and you want to keep up with everyone.
But, a friend once gave me some advice I will never forget. Run the race set before you. Don’t compare yourself to others. You will hit a wall and you will need to push through the pain. It will be grueling physically and emotionally.
When my first big race came, I remembered those wise words. It was so hard at first to run my own race. It was hard to compare what I was doing to how they were running. People were flying past me. But guess what? My friend was right. Around mile 9, 10, 11, and 12, I began to pass those people who rushed off in the beginning. Then, when I hit the “wall” and felt like I couldn’t continue, I remembered to push through the pain.
Run the race set before you.
Don’t compare yourself to others and when the going gets tough – keep going! Don’t give up.
As, Paul emphasized in this passage, how an athlete goes through intense training to achieve victory, the same can hold true for believers in Christ. We will often go through hardships, but we need to keep going, in order to advance the Gospel.
Remember and be encouraged today – God can change things in an instant.
Keep your eyes on Jesus and the rest will fall into place.
Father, thank you for this new day and week. Lord, sometimes life is difficult. When problems and situations arise, help us to keep our eyes focused on you and run the race that is set before us. Help us not to compare ourselves to others. Please give us the strength and courage to overcome anything that keeps us from running the race you put before us. In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.
We hope and pray this encourages you today.