Article by Pastor D. Sutherland
Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway (Philippians 3:14) .
The current Berlin World Championships has brought much media attention worldwide highlighting the interest of all countries of the world. Athletes from over two hundred countries are competing in one of the largest sporting events in the world at the highest level of competition for medals of gold, silver and bronze in disciplines ranging from javelin to track and field. In the track events, races are featured, run and won with the first three athletes in the finals to reach the tape first receiving gold, silver and bronze medals respectively. The scriptures say, they do it to obtain a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible.
“And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible” (I Corinthians 9: 25).
Let us consider the race for the incorruptible crown.
The scriptures in Hebrews chapter 12 and verse 1 point us to a race that is set before us the believer in Christ, which must be run.
“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” (Hebrews 12:1).
However, the scriptures also points us to the fact that not everyone who runs in a race actually wins the race and receives the prize, so we are encouraged not just to run, but run to win.
“Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain” (1 Corinthians 9: 24).
So many athletes have run in the World Championships with nothing to show for their years of preparation, discipline, dedication and sacrifice. Some remark that their failure was due to their lack of preparation, injury, the level of the competition, their inability to finish in the top three medal positions. Invariable, it all points back to them.
Winners are not just born they are trained and bred. Knowing how to win an incorruptible crown is crucial, so the Apostle Paul writes that he does not run with uncertainty, nor fight as others beating the air, but he brings his body under subjection lest he fails in getting his prize.
“I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway “(1 Corinthians 9: 26-27).
Let us look at how to do this.
1. Having a firm knowledge of your race is key. The Christ’s race is an endurance race, not a sprint race.
“Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest” (Ecclesiastes 9:10).
“And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved” (Matthew 10:22).
Sprinters don’t run with patience.
2. Have a mind to win. Your mental approach is crucial. Ten of the spies that spied out the Promised Land had a mental lapse, not having the mind to win.
“But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we” (Number 13: 31).
Remember in this race you need the mind of Christ.
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5).
Stay the course. There is absolutely no prize for unfinished races. Winners don’t quit. Quitting is not an option.
“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” (2 Timothy 4: 7-8).
Your prize is waiting. Run to win!