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Which race are we running?
- Jacob Ninan
People say that the whole world is in a rat race, aiming to get ahead in life, pushing other people aside and even trampling on them. The aim is more money and material wealth, higher status, greater name, bigger influence, etc. We Christians object to this race in doctrine, but the chances are that we are also influenced in our thinking and practice by this same goal, even if we shift our track to 'spiritual' things and 'spiritual' activities while running essentially the same type of race. We tend to forget in the process that God wants us to be engaged in another type of race as His children. If we are actually running that race, the evidence will be seen in our thinking process -- in terms of planning for it, learning more about how to run it more efficiently, evaluating our progress constantly, etc. In other words, if we aren't even thinking about this race often, we aren't actually running it even if we accept it doctrinally and make ourselves believe we are into it.
1. This race involves striving against sin (He.12:1-4). Jesus came to save us from our sins (Mt.1:21), not only from its guilt but also its power (Ro.6:14). If we love Jesus, and we are grateful to Him for giving His life for lifting us from sin, we will be constantly striving to overcome temptations and to stop sinning (1Co.15:34).
2. One goal of this race is to become like Jesus (Ro.8:29). God causes all things to work towards this. Paul, as His master workman, strove to present every man perfect and complete before God (Col.1:28).
3. This race implies fulfilling God's task for us (2Ti.4:7). God has created each of us with a unique combination of abilities and experiences that fits us for the task that He has planned for us on this earth. Whether we labour in 'Christian' or 'secular' work, if we do things as unto the Lord we will glorify Him (1Co.10:31).
4. We will not only keep the goal in view, but also whether we are running according to the rules (2Ti.2:5). We cannot make our own rules but we must follow the rules of the Race Judge. This includes keeping our testimony upright before God and people (Ac.24:16).
We can see that if we are to run this race and win (complete) it, it would call for a lot of thinking and effort on our part. We need to put our heart and soul into it, and we also need to encourage one another to run purposefully and without giving up (He.3:13). We will have no real chance of completing this race if we are too occupied with other things and have no time even to think about it. We must not forget that while this is a long duration race like the marathon, it is also like an obstacle race, with many things that come up which can stop or hinder us. Our adversary, the Devil, is also lurking around the corners to try and catch us unawares. But the Holy Spirit is by our side, and Jesus is waiting at the end to receive us.
Let us run this race by choice, and consciously and deliberately. "Be on this earth and do as God wants us to."