“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.”

1 Corinthians 9:24

At times our days feel like a sprint, and at others they seem more like a long, slow, painful climb up a mountain. At various times, they can be exhausting or exhilarating; tedious or full of surprises. They can be full of hope and joy, and also discouragement and suffering.

But there is one important difference. In the Tour De France, there will be only one winner, only one man who can stand at the finish wearing the yellow jersey. But in life, every one of us has the potential to win the race; every one of us can receive the victor’s crown and hear the words of our Lord, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

We accept the fact that we must train in order to do something well. If you want to become skilled in medicine, or law, or computer programming, or carpentry, or preaching, or anything else, you have to prepare yourself through discipline and study, perhaps years of it. And the same is true when it comes to the practice of Christianity. Becoming spiritually mature; gaining wisdom; discovering and developing our gifts for ministry require sustained, intentional effort. If we want to grow in Christ, we have to discipline ourselves. We have to pray, and read, and study, and labour to put our faith into practice.

It’s as true in life as in running only the determined achieve their goals. Olympic medals don’t go to overweight businessmen who puff around the track for exercise. Paul saw himself as an Olympic athlete competing for a gold medal, straining every muscle, nerve, and sinew to get to the finish line. And what’s the prize? Not a temporary reward but “an imperishable crown” (v.25).

For us as Christians, victory is possible. So let’s run as though we want to win. Are you focused on that goal? Are you pursuing that goal with single-minded purpose? Or are you being distracted from your devotion to Christ by other things? If so, then take some time to refocus; to reorient yourself toward living for Christ. Resolve, with God’s help, to keep Christ at the center of your life, where He belongs, rather than allowing other things to push him out onto the fringes.

Friends, remember winners never quit, and quitters never win.


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Garment of Praise

Monthly Insights for Spiritual Growth, Encouragement and Personal Victory.

Oluyemisi Onanuga

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version of the Bible.

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