The Bible often compares our Christian life as a race. There are ways to run a race and ways in which we should not. Like a sprinter who pulls up lame in the 100-meter dash, so is the Christian who does not maintain confidence in Christ firm until the end. The Christian life is a daily commitment to follow Jesus (Lk. 9:23). It is a race which must be completed (Heb. 12:1-2). One cannot stop half-way through the race. We must give our best effort every step of the way!
The Hebrew writer says that if we wish to be partakers of Christ, we must “hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end…” (Heb. 3:14). The runner has no chance of victory without crossing the finish line. Similarly, the Christian must be faithful until death in order to receive the crown of life (Rev. 2:10).
Another important thing to keep in mind is that we cannot rest upon past accomplishments. It would be foolish to stop half-way through the race, turn around to see how far we have come, and then conclude: “Well, I guess I’ve made it far enough!” Jesus says, “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” (Lk. 9:62). The apostle Paul, who worked tirelessly for the sake of Christ, never reached a point where he said, “I have done enough!” He continually reached forward, pressing on for the sake of Christ (Ph. 3:13-14). In the same way, we must give our hearts in steadfast devotion to the will of the Lord.
All that God requires is that we put forth our best effort. We stumble and falter at times, but we must get back in the race and concentrate on doing our best for the Master. Like the runner who lunges forward with his last ounce of strength to reach the finish line, so also the Christian must run in such a manner as to win the race of life (1 Cor. 9:24). The race is set before us. Our goal is heaven. The strength we need comes from the Lord. But, we must do the running every step of the way.
-Adapted from Glen Elliott