Christian, Keep Your Eyes on the Prize
I used to like to run. Currently, I'm out of shape and I hate running, but I am trying to make myself do it. When I am running I have one thing on my mind—the end. I want to be done. I am thinking constantly about it being over. From the beginning, I have the end in mind.
The goal is the finish and to obtain the prize. I want to burn calories, keep my heart healthy, and lose weight. I'm not running in place on a treadmill because I enjoy it. I am running for a purpose.
As Christians, we should look at this life as a race. Certainly, we can enjoy things along the way, but we are living for a purpose. We have a goal. We are seeking a prize. We should be living with the end in mind. We want to persevere, succeed, and even hear from our Savior, "Well done."
Distraction is Everywhere
It is easy for us to get distracted by a whole host of things. We can either forget or never know to begin with that we have been saved to something and not just from something. God wants to use us to make His name famous. He wants to use us as His mouthpiece to share the good news with others. But often it seems we are just waiting on heaven. We are content to wait rather than be active runners in the race.
Like the story of the tortoise and the hare, we are the bunny who stops to nap thinking we have all the time in the world. However, none of us are promised tomorrow. None of us are guaranteed another minute or breath. We should be living with urgency and ready to share the good news of Christ with those God brings us in contact with. We should be like the tortoise who, though not the fastest, keeps his eyes on the finish line and is focused on the task at hand.
Discipline and Focus
Paul says in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, "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. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified."
Paul was focused. He knew not only what he'd been saved from, but what he'd been saved for. He knew that there was no way God should have saved him, but was so grateful and ready to go on mission. He wanted to share the good news that he'd been shown with anyone who would listen. He stayed disciplined. He didn’t want to be disqualified. He didn’t want to sit on the sidelines. He knew there was a lot at stake.
Do I Really Get It?
I've often wondered if I truly get the magnitude of what God has done for me in saving me. If I really grasped the greatness of it, would I be out sharing constantly? Would I be content to keep quiet as I walk by those at the super market who could be headed for an eternity away from Jesus? Do I really understand? Do I really see that Jesus is the prize that makes every other prize and treasure look like rubbish? What do you think?
We have been saved from an eternity of unfathomable pain, anguish, and separation from our Creator. We have been given so much grace to know and be partakers of God's kindness. This very same grace and kindness is available to everyone who believes. We have been saved so we can share that good news with those who still don't know it. We've been given God's Spirit now who helps us when we're unsure of what to say. How can we be content staying on the bench?
When I'm in shape and enjoy running, I'm still keeping my eyes on that prize. I'm trying to see how fast I can finish certain distances. I run races and compete (mostly against myself). At the end of a race you get a medal and often enjoy a party. One day we will finish this race. We will receive an imperishable wreath and be invited in to an eternal party. What will you hear at the finish line? Will you wish you trained harder? Will you wish you ran with others? Will others be there thanking you for running well? Once the race is over, all that will matter is who is at the finish line. We can’t be content sitting on the bench. We must keep our eyes on the prize.