“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lets, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.” (I Corinthians 9:24-27)
This is a great analogy of how we are to walk before the Lord during our lives here on earth. We have one shot at this thing called life. After that it is eternity. Eternity is never-ending. There is no end to it. Think about that for a minute. To those who finish their race, eternity is their reward. Eternity in the presence of the King of Kings. To those who never started their race or who became disqualified through sin and unbelief, eternity is full of misery.
Our race begins when we accept Jesus Christ into our hearts through repentance of sins. Repentance requires a one hundred and sixty degree turn-around in your attitude. It means to change your mind. To change the direction of your life. To stop walking towards destruction and start walking towards the Source of life: Jesus Christ. A person running a race for a valuable prize is going to do what it takes to win. They are going to focus their physical bodies to get stronger to run and to focus their minds on achieving that prize. So too is our spiritual race. The prize we are running after is an imperishable crown. It has eternal value.
This race takes a conscious decision to run. It takes faith in Jesus Christ, who is the Rewarder of our diligent pursuit of Him. It takes the putting down of the fleshly wants and needs in order to achieve the Pearl of Great Price: Jesus Christ. What is diligence? It is focused attention. It is being watchful to do what is necessary to do it right. Today, take stock of your life and make the decision to come to Jesus and begin the race; repent and return to Him and finish your race. If you are running your race strong today, make the determination to stay strong and finish strong. Wherever you are in this journey of life, this is the most important race you will ever run because at the finish line there awaits an imperishable crown.