When we see a race, whether it be runners, cars or horses, everyone at least starts in their own lane. In a few races the competitors stay in their own lane, but on many race tracks they converge into one bundle of racers. Either way, they are all on the same track and are competing against each other to see who comes in first place.
Even though some of us might not like to admit it, we tend to see our spiritual lives the same way. We act like we are all on the same track, racing to do something for God and trying to come in first place. And too often it seems the prize we are aiming for is to be better at what we do than the other Christians around us.
We sometimes need to remind ourselves that is not how God set it up. Yes, we are all in a race, but we all have our own separate track to run on. We are not competing against anyone else. In Hebrews 12:1 Paul tells us, “Since we have such a huge crowd of men of faith watching us from the grandstands, let us strip off anything that slows us down or holds us back, and especially those sins that wrap themselves so tightly around our feet and trip us up; and let us run with patience the particular race that God has set before us.” (TLB) The NIV Bible says to “…run with perseverance the race marked out for us”.
God has marked out a different race for each one of us to run, and to win, all He requires is for us to finish it! “I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” Philippians 3:14 (NLT) “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.” 2 Timothy 4:7 (NLT) “…We run for the crown that we will wear for eternity.” 1 Corinthians 9:25 (VOICE) If we are faithful to finish, we each win the first place eternal prize for our race!
We shouldn’t be trying to run someone else’s race. Let’s think about this. Why doesn’t a long-distance runner compete as a sprinter? Because he has the tools for endurance, not speed. Why doesn’t a shot-put thrower enter the hurdles race or the pole vault? Because he has the arm muscles to throw, not the legs to jump.
A serious athlete will train and compete in the area his body is most suited for. We need to take that same lesson in the natural and apply it to our spiritual walk. What has God put in you and created you to do while on this earth? Allow yourself to be trained and equipped in that area. Let’s stop trying to be someone we were not created to be, which causes competition in the Body of Christ. Instead, let’s be a united team, supporting each other’s unique God-given talents, abilities and anointings.
There is a wonderful consequence of running the race we are created for. It brings excitement, joy and contentment, so that we no longer see ourselves on the same track competing with each other or trying to run someone else’s race. We can speak with confidence the same words as Paul in Acts 20:24, “… that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus…”
Is there something you do that helps keep your eyes focused on the true race? I would love to have you share it below.
Laura Diehl is an award-winning author, national speaker and singer. She and her husband, Dave, are the founders of Grieving Parents Sharing Hope (GPS Hope). Dave and Laura travel full time in their Hope Mobile (a 38-foot motor home) to be more easily available for speaking and ministry requests.
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GPS Hope exists to walk with grieving parents through the suffocating darkness of child-loss to a place of hope, light and purpose.
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