A race is used in several places as a metaphor for the need to persevere in our walk as a Christian.
†† (Acts 20:24 NIV)† However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me--the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace.
†† (1 Cor 9:24 NIV)† Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.
†† (2 Tim 4:7 NIV)† I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
†† (Heb 12:1 NIV)† Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
Now if you are serious about a race you will train for it. You will eat right and learn winning techniques. You will buy good equipment and be faithful to your training regimen. And, you will give your very best when itís actually time for the race. There will be times when you feel like giving up or skipping some portion of your training. But, the winners are most often the ones that persevere and overcome every temptation to quit for even a moment. Here are a few verses encouraging us to be steadfast in our personal race.
†† (Gal 6:9 NIV)† Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
†† (2 Th 3:13 NIV)† And as for you, brothers, never tire of doing what is right.
†† (Heb 12:3 NIV)† Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
†† (Luke 18:1 NIV)† Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.
Each of us has to run his own race but that doesnít mean we donít need help. We all need help at one time or another. Yet we are all on the same team with the same goal. We all need to finish the race and claim our prizes. The Bible puts it like this:
†† (Heb 10:25 NIV)† Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
It sometimes happens that we feel as if we just canít continue.† Itís as if we have given our all and it just wasnít enough. However, there is a phenomenon familiar to many of us called a, ďSecond Wind.Ē This second wind comes only after we have gone beyond what we feel comfortable doing, when we continue to strive beyond what we thought we could do. Here is how itís defined in the dictionary.
†† Second Wind, from American Heritage Dictionary:
1. The return of relative ease of breathing after the initial exhaustion that occurs during continued physical exertion.
2. Restored energy or strength.
Donít think you have reached your limit because you havenít.
†† †(1 Cor 10:13 RSV)† No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
†† (Heb 12:7 RSV)† It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?
And once you have endured and persevered you will find the race becomes easier. You will get your second wind. In fact ther is another phenomenon that occurs when people race long distances. It happens after they have endured and persevered and gotten their seconfd wind. Itís called a, ďRunnerís High.Ē Now here are few comments about this subject:
†† Runnerís High, excerpts from† Wikipedia: Refers to the feeling of being "high" (full of energy and wellness) after exercise. It is commonly said that the "high" is a result of the release of bigger amounts of endorphins in the body during the exercise. However, some scientists think this feeling is caused by the challenge, and is not related to endorphin release. For example, in some studies a drug was given to people which blocked the effect of endorphins. These people still felt the runner's high; it means this feeling is not caused by the release of endorphins in the blood. excerpts.
You can have this same type of feeling when you run the good race for Jesus; when you continue on longer than you imagined you could. This is the feeling you have when you know our Lord will respond, ďWell done good and faithful servant.Ē This is the feeling you have when the Spirit of God comes upon you and gives you peace.
Make no mistake about it, we are in a race. And the enemy is looking for a chance to trip us up and to make us stumble and even fall. He wants us to quit. Donít listen to him. Stay in the race and donít neglect your preparations for victory before the race begins each day. Here are a few things we can do to get ready and to become winners.
†† Accept Jesus as your personal savior.
†† Read the Bible daily. It has the rules and contains all you need to know to run the race and be a winner.
†† Pray. Prayer is how we keep in touch with the coach, God.
†† Be open to the Holy Spirit. Through the spirit we receive the guidance we need, step by step.
†† Trust in the Lord. He has already defeated the enemy we just have to make sure we are on His team.
†† Do your part. Be a team player.
So the real message today is not about a, ďSecond WindĒ or some ďRunnerís High.Ē No the real message is that you need to understand that you can win the race. Not maybe win but can in fact win. Thereís no doubt about it. Are you ready to take your place as a member of the winning team? Team Jesus!