by Evang Victor Aina
There is need for us to understand, the importance of the race that is set before us as believers, and must know we have to run according to the standards set by God.
Definition: A race is a competition between runners, horses, vehicles, etc, to see which is the fastest in covering a set course.
Or. A situation in which individuals or group compete to be the first to achieve a particular objective. Oxford Dictionary. (ref Merriam Webster Dictionary)
A. A race is a set course or duration of Time.
B. A race is the course of life.
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
The Greek word translated “course” is dromos which speaks of “course of life.”
Scroll 144 paragraph 1 speaks of the time and season of the coming of the Lord, we may not know the day and hour but the bible told us of the season. And if not for anything having known that the time is short, there is need to run well the race that is set before us.
There is nowhere in the Bible, where we are promised that the Christian life is going to be easy, in fact, we are told in John 16:33, In the world ye shall have tribulation.
Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 NASB
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. Hebrews 12:1-4
The book of Hebrews shows us how Christians endure trials and persecutions, and in the light of this the Christian life is likened to a race. It is not a 100m dash but a marathon. Our journey of faith in Christ Jesus till death comes or when we meet up with Him in the sky is likened to a race. A race that requires endurance and preparation. And our success will be determined by how well prepared we are, and how well we convert every opportunity to the glory of God in obedience to his commandments.
And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us. 1 John 3:24.
I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all. Eccl 9:11
In a day when runners seems to be dropping out on every hand, these are times when it’s easy to be discouraged about your own race. When trials comes at times we are tempted to give up.
Though I may not know what you are going through right now, DON’T GIVE UP. Nothing in this world is worth loosing eternity in Christ.
For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? Matt 16:26
For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Mark 8:36.
Paul likened the Christian life to a race marked by series of warfare – Take with me your share of hardship [passing through the difficulties which you are called to endure], like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier in active service gets entangled in the [ordinary business] affairs of civilian life; [he avoids them] so that he may please the one who enlisted him to serve. 2 Tim: 3-4 AMP
(See also Eph. 6:10-18)
He compared it to a wrestling match – Do you not know that in a race all the runners run [their very best to win], but only one receives the prize? Run [your race] in such a way that you may seize the prize and make it yours! Now every athlete who [goes into training and] competes in the games is disciplined and exercises self-control in all things. They do it to win a crown that withers, but we [do it to receive] an imperishable [crown that cannot wither]. Therefore I do not run without a definite goal; I do not flail around like one beating the air [just shadow boxing]. But [like a boxer] I strictly discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached [the gospel] to others, I myself will not somehow be disqualified [as unfit for service]. 1 Cor. 9:24-27
He compared it to a farmer – The hard-working farmer [who labors to produce crops] ought to be the first to receive his share of the crops. 2 Tim 2:6
The words “Run all” show that each and every individual is to run.
A Race = space or distance, this starts when we accept Christ and ends when we leave, the scene of this world or we meet him face to face. What we do in between is the most important thing RUN.RUN=to spend ones strength in attaining something Greek Trekho.
And we have to be Temperate (self- controlled)
Keep our body under = beat it black and blue; smite as to cause bruises, to discipline by hardship. Rom 12; 2.
Bring it into subjection = to lead away into slavery, to make slave or to treat as a slave Rom 6:12-13.
HEB 12:1-4 NIV Race marked out for us i.e. John 1980- 2040 a witness to my deliverance in EJIGBO, UK.
The “let us” here some bible scholars said it refers to 3 categories of people.
1, Some Jews who left Judaism for Christ
2, some group of Jews intellectually convince that the gospel is true.
3, The old antagonist Jews convince but are not saved at all.
The author is saying to Christians.
- Make a commitment to CHRIST.
- IF you are in the race then run well.
My goal in preaching this message is that we may all end well our race in this life, and might say with apostle Paul “I have fought a good fight I have finished my cause, and kept the faith” (2 Tim 4:7).
Let’s consider a few things:
The Saints in Hebrews 11 which spoke of heroes and heroines of faith, they have run their race so they stand as an encouragement to us. IF they did run well how can we? They were ordinary people, common men with evidence of a profound faith in God (like Elijah, Jam. 5:17-18). They will receive their rewards, the price is theirs because they run well. They encourage us to run for the Lord (2 Tim 4:7-8). They reveal God’s reliability. If God honoured their faith He will honour ours too (Heb 4:14-15 NIV, Heb 13:5b)
Heb 11:4 Abel –Dependability of GOD
Heb 11:5 ENOCH Walked with God, Jude 14-15
Heb 11:7 Noah built 4-storey Ark without evidence of rain
Heb 11:8 ABRAHAM
Heb 11:21 Jacob
Heb 11:22 Joseph
Heb 11:23-28 Moses
Heb 11:29-30 Israel
Heb 11:31 Rahab
Heb 11:32-40 Gideon, Barak and Samson.
2. Consider self: Lay aside every weight: pursuit of possession, entertainment, comfort. stuff that do not focus our attention on God. Lay aside besetting sin, sin which clings, entangles, or trips the runner (The idea is that which distracts from Christ). We must run with patience Rom. 8:28, Mark 13:13. Know our labour is not in vain 1 Cor. 15:58. We each have our own race to run, you can’t run mine I can’t run yours. We are not in a competition ,but we are in the same team, my job is not to out run you, but to run for Jesus. Our course has been individually designed. 2 Tim 4:7. the race you are running is design only for you.
- Consider The Saviour
Fix your eyes on Jesus. This means to look away from everything else and focus on Him. It also has to do with guarding our priorities.
A .Consider His race – Matt 1:21, Phil 1:1-8 NLT, Col 1:9-12 NLT.
- Consider His reasons –He ran for the joy, of Liberating mankind from the Devil, salvation of our soul, and deliverance from sin. 1 John 3:5, Phil 2:9-11, Heb 10:1-5,12-17.
- Consider His rewards – Heb 1:3-4 NLT, Heb :8:1
D .Consider His resolve – His life was treath end as a baby, Matt 2;13-16,Betrayed by close friends Mk 12;10-11,18.was forsaken by all His friends Mark 14:50.Acts 2:24,FACED all that we face-2 COR 8:9’HEB 4;15. NLT/MSG.
His goal is that we become like Him 2 Cor. 4:17, 1 John 2:28-29 NET.
And he has map out different ways to achieve this things through us,if we can just co-operate with Him. Enoch –walked, Abraham-Obeyed, Noah-worked, Jacob foretold, Moses Preserved.
We could achieve this by responding to Gods discipline, Heb 12:4-8, Prov 3:11-12. accept Gods training because its only through him, that we can survive in this race, submit to him, spirit, soul and body. DIAGRAM
This saint witness to us, they are not watching but showing by experience that we can win in this Race. Rom 8:33-END.
Senior pastors new year word, The warning on why some of us have problem. Psalm 81:10-16 read.
In conclusion lets always remind ourselves that as believers we are running in a race, and there are other contesters too, we need to endure ,and run according to the rules so that we may finish strong (2 Tim 6:12, 19).
He that endurse to the end shall be saved (Matt 10:22, Matt. 24:13), Heb 10:32-39
Phil. 4:1 joy and crown
Rev. 14:14 Christ crowned
– 2 Tim. 4:8 crown of Righteousness
– James 1:12, Rev. 2:10 Crown of life
– 1 Thess. 2:19-20 crown of rejoicing
-1 Pet. 5:2-4 Crown of glory for Shepherds