I have never been a big fan of running myself, but as I watched Caddie run in a cross country meet recently, all I could think of was “Fix your eyes on Jesus and run the race.” There are many lessons in that!
Cross Country Racing
Our granddaughter, Caddie, loves to run, and we just recently got to see her in action. She was running in a cross country meet, which is for long-distance runners – serious runners. Because of the way the course was set up, we were able to see the runners take off at the starting line. Some runners took off, while others held back for a bit.
We lost sight of them for a time, and when they came back around to us, their order had changed quite a bit. Some of the ones who started off strong had fallen behind. Some of the ones who held back at the beginning had moved up in the race, while others maintained their lead throughout the run.
They all had the same goal – the finish line, but they couldn’t all be first. I know talent and athletic ability has a lot to do with it, but I would also guess that the runners with the fastest time trained a little harder.
Training to Run the Race
A lot of practice is involved in preparing for such a long run. The runners:
- Run long distances daily
- Learn to pace themselves
During the Race
- Don’t carry any unnecessary weight – They wear light weight clothing and nothing extra.
- All hair is tied back so there are no distractions.
- Focus on the goal.
- Don’t look backward.
- Run their own race.
- Watch for obstacles.
- Choose the smoothest path.
At the end of the race, they celebrated with great joy as each of the runners crossed the finish line! They each had their own race to run, but they celebrated together as a team.
Running Our Spiritual Race
I know you can already see the similarities between cross country running and our Christian life! See what the writer of Hebrews had to say about it:
“Therefore, since we also have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every hindrance and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith…” Hebrews 12:1-2a
We should train in the same way as the runners:
- Train daily by putting into practice:
- The characteristics of the fruit of the Spirit
- Daily Scripture reading
- Daily Prayer time
- Study the examples of the heroes of the faith.
- Meet regularly with our team for encouragement.
During Our Race:
- Get rid of any sinful habits that would entangle us or weigh us down by confession and repentance.
- Don’t look backward at our failures (or even successes), but move forward.
- Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus.
- Be aware of obstacles and distractions, and avoid them as much as possible.
- Try to stay on the straight paths so the running is much easier.
- Run your own race and not someone else’s. Don’t compare.
- Cheer each other on with great encouragement as you run.
At the end of this Christian race on earth, let us all celebrate and rejoice together for a job well done!
Other Scriptures About Running the Race
“Don’t you know that the runners in a stadium all race, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way to win the prize.”
I Corinthians 9:24
“…But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s Heavenly call in Christ Jesus.”
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. There is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the Righteous Judge will give me on that day, and not only to me, but to all those who have loved His appearing.”
2 Timothy 4:7-8
As we go through this next week, let’s stand strong and run the race together, encouraging one another as we go!
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Until next week…
Have a Grace & Joy-Filled Day!