Running Life's Race

Johnie Edwards
Ellettsville, Indiana

Life is compared to many different things in the Bible the Apostle to the Hebrews compares life to running a race. "Wherefore we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which cloth 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" (Heb.12:1-2)

All are Invited to Run

The invitation to run in life's race is extended to every responsible person in the world. Jesus said, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto my soul. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light" (Matt. 11:28-30). The Spirit and the bride invite. "And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely" (Rev. 22:17).

Must Enter the Race

It is not enough to hear about the race and to know that it is going on, but the race must be entered. One has to meet the requirements set up in order to enter this spiritual race. The qualifications are: faith in Christ (John. 8:24), repentance (Acts 17: 30), a confession of one's faith (Matt. 10: 32), and baptism Gal. 3:27). As the person in a foot race lays aside every weight which besets him, we must lay aside all of our sins if we expect to be able to run as God desires in life's race

Must Run

It is not enough to enter life's race but after we enter we must run. Hebrews 12:1 says, "...let us run..." Too many people enter life's spiritual race and then just sit down on the track. People who do this not only hurt themselves but hinder others.

Must Run Until the Race Is Over

If you drop out of life's race you are disqualified unless you are reinstated. Many enter the race but are hindered and drop out. Paul said to the Galatians: "Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?" (Gal. 5:7). We must, "Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses" (1 Tim. 6:12). If we expect to receive the prize we must, "Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life" (Rev. 2:10).

Must Run on the Inside of the Enclosure

If a man buys a racetrack, he expects those who enter the race to run on the inside of the enclosure to be qualified for the prize. A boy might outrun every other boy on the outside of the track, but would he be eligible for the prize? Do you think Christ would purchase the church with his own blood (Acts 20:28), and let folks run on the outside and then give them a prize at the end of the race?

Must Abide by the Rules

As those who run in a foot race must abide by the rules, so we who run in life's race must do likewise. There are too many today in the church who believe that it is not necessary to follow the rules. Paul told Timothy: "And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully" (2 Tim. 2:5). The idea is, that no athlete can receive the prize unless he follows the rules. We will not receive God's prize unless we follow the rules He has laid down in His word.

Run With Patience

"... let us run with patience the race that is set before us" (Heb. 12:1) One reason that many who enter life's race will not receive the prize is because they did not learn to be patient. "That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises" (Heb. 6:12). James said, "Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain" (Jas. 5:7). Paul admonished the Galatians: "And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not" (Gal. 6:9).

Run With Our Eyes on the Lord

The apostle, to the Hebrews tells us to run, "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith..." (Heb. 12:2). Perhaps one reason so many drop out of life's race is that they do not keep their eyes on the Lord. One reason we should keep our eyes on the Lord is to see the example he set. Peter said, "For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps" (1 Pet. 2:21).

Christ to Judge the Race

When we think about a race we think about a judge. "For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgement unto the Son" (John. 5:22). Jesus Christ will be the judge of this race. It will be individual in nature. "So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God" (Rom. 14:12). We will be judged by how we run in life's race.

"For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad" (2 Cor.5:10).

A Prize for Those who Endure

"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" (1 Cor. Iife's race as the Lord directs is an incorruptible crown. Peter said it is "an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, received in heaven for you" (I Pet. 1:4). Those who run in life's race faithfully will not have run in vain. "Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain"

(Phil.2:16). So let us, "Press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 3:14).

May you enter life's race and then run that it might be said of you when you come to the end of the way,

Two Hands Upon the Breast
and Labors Done,
Two Pale Feet Crossed in Rest
The Race is Won

Truth Magazine VII: 9, pp.22-23
June 1963