Continuing with our comparison between running a race and our Christian walk, we move on to point number 3:
3. Seldom are 2 participant’s times the same. When we started our race in the 10 and 4 mile races, while there was one starting sound, due to little magnetic strips on our assigned numbers on our chests, our individual times did not start and stop until we actually crossed the start and finish lines. Because our Christian race begins when we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior and it is not over until we cross the finish line into Heaven upon our physical death, our races begin and end at different times. As Christians, we may guestimate when we expect to finish our course down here on earth but as I said in another series, our life is short and we do not know when it will end.
James 4:14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.
Hebrews 9:27: And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
I Peter 1:24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:
4. In every race there is a time keeper, but they don’t know how long it will take for us to complete our race until we actually finish. In our Christian race, our timekeeper knows ahead of time when our race will start and end. In Ephesians chapter one it says that God choose us before the foundations of the world and that he predestined (determined beforehand) that we were to be his children. He says in Ecclesiastes 3:2 that there is a time to be born and a time to die. And Job 14:5 tells us “Seeing his days are determined, the number of his months are with thee, thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass;” So as a Christian we can rest in the comfort of knowing that our time is in His hands. Psalm 31:15
5. Extra weights and distractions are removed. In a race you want to remove everything possible that will slow you down. Some runners train while wearing weights on their legs but when race time comes, the weights come off. In Hebrews 12 Paul tells us that we need lay aside every weight and the sin that easily besets us. Notice it says weight AND the sin. There may be some things that are good and “OK” but not beneficial or “best” for our Christian race. Hobbies and sports are fine but if it begins to interfere with your relationship with Christ it is an issue. Other things like social activities, various forms of media are fine as well as long as these do not consume us to where Christ takes second place in our life. In less than a month from now an important election for our country will take place and while participating in the political process is great, if changing someone’s political view becomes more important than pointing them to Christ to change their heart, these are weights that need to be removed. These are weights but if we allow them to weigh us down they hinder our performance. The second portion of the verse says “and the sin…”. While some things may be good but are weights to our race, other things are out right sins and must be immediately removed or serious injury and delays may hinder us from our peak “performance.”
6. Proper attire is necessary. This kind of goes along with point #5 regarding weights but is referencing clothing more than other types of weights. A runner wears clothing that will “draw” the sweat away from the body and lightweight shoes. In the Christian race we need to have on the right attire. We are told to put on the armor of God (Ephesians 6:13-17 ), we are to put on immortality ( I Corinthians 15:53 ), we are told to put on the new man, a changed godly man (Ephesians 4:24 ) we are told to put on the new man because we are holy and beloved of God and we are to put on compassion, kindness, humility, longsuffering, forbearance (holding up someone) , forgiveness one towards another, and above all we are to put on love. I had a dorm mate in college and anytime he got the least bit sweaty he would change his clothes. I swear I think he changed clothes even if he ran up the one flight of stairs to our dorm rooms and got just a little bit sweaty. Like a man who showered and was washed clean would not think about putting back on his dirty clothes, so ought we as Christians to have a desire to put on what is clean and godly and desire not to put on the dirty clothes of this world and the things in life that will soil our Christian life.