Winning the Race by Lisa Burkhardt Worley

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 (1 Corinthians 9:24).

I spent many years in competitive athletics, playing volleyball and basketball in high school, and basketball in college. When competing in a volleyball match or basketball game, I had a strong desire to win, and the will to win continued into decades of playing league racquetball, tennis and now golf.

The Bible talks about a different kind of winning—winning the race in our Christian journey. It is not an easy one to maneuver and can feel more like an obstacle race at times, but we are called to persevere and finish strong, just as we do in a sports competition. The Apostle Paul says victorious living requires strict training. As Christian leaders, one slip-up can disqualify us as a credible witness to others. That is something we should keep in mind when tempted to compromise our faith. We don’t want to disappoint those who look up to us as godly role models.

James tells us that if we stand the test, we will receive a crown at the end of our lives (James 1:12). In ancient times, Olympic winners were awarded a crown made from olive leaves and were treated the way we look up to current-day sports celebrities. Can you imagine walking through the pearly gates to the applause of Jesus and the other saints who have gone before us?

I have lost a lot of sports competitions in my life, but this is one I want to win. What about you? And when we are victorious, we will have the honor of laying our unperishable crowns down at the feet of Jesus. He is worthy of all the glory and honor because we cannot win the race without him.

How well are you running the race of life?

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