Walking With God: 5 Things to Help us ‘Go For The Prize’

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. [1 Corinthians 9:24-27]

At school we are taught that it was the taking part which mattered the most. [Thoughts like these surely only come from people who never won anything]. Yet right here in scripture we see Paul encouraging us to ‘go for the prize’, to ‘go for the win.’

Everybody can participate, yet only those with a certain set of characteristics actually win the prize

Jesus has set us up for the win already. Everything that could possibly hold us back as been nailed to the cross, the only restrictions are those we place on ourselves through lingering doubts and unbelief, or those spoken over us reminding us of our past, our shortcomings or the impossibility of success.

5 things which may just help us…

Know your race. We are not running for ourselves, we are running for Jesus. We are not running because we ‘have to’, instead this is a race we have ‘chosen’ to be part of.  When I was at school I was more a sprinter than a long distance runner so there was a difference when I ran the 100 metres as opposed to the one time I was asked to fill in for the 1500. One was my race and I ran thinking I could win, the other I ran thinking when will this be over, especially as I finished at least half a lap behind everyone else.

Run as if to win. Be determined. When you know you are running the right race for you then you can run as if to win. When it comes to the Christian faith, knowing what has been done for us, and the prize that awaits us, should give us enough motivation to run with the attitude of someone who already understands they are a winner.

Develop some self-control. Train hard, keep learning. This is the stuff we don’t like so much but its often in these small areas of discipline and hard work which influence the level of our success in any race. Prayer. Fasting. Worship. Reading the Word. Fight the good fight of faith. Each one build our stamina and ability to run well for the entirety of our journey with God.

Focus. Run with purpose. Always keep the bigger picture in view. We don’t run for ourselves, we are running for our Saviour. We are not competing to win a prize for our own sense of accomplishment but rather for a prize of greater value and importance. To hear the words of Jesus when we enter glory. ‘Well done, good and faithful servant’.

Don’t disqualify yourself. Stay in the lanes. There may not be a need for any qualification to become a runner in this race but we can easily disqualify ourselves. Don’t run over people to get to your victory. The way we run is as important as the running itself.

Lets not be so focused on the finish line that we miss out on the opportunity to win along the way.

A better way to win is taking others across the finish line with you, which means always being on lookout for ways to help others join the race with us, as well helping those who are running alongside us to keep on running their race too.

How’s your attitude to the race? Still running ‘as if to win?’ Why not take some time out today and ask God to help you run your race well.

Why We Don’t See It?

You were running superbly! Who cut in on you, deflecting you from the true course of obedience? This detour doesn’t come from the One who called you into the race in the first place [Galatians 5:7-8 MSG]

I get sad when I see a persons life take a turn for what I would consider the worse. A turn that is not accidental or unfortunate, instead it is one of their own choosing. They were running the race. They were going for God. Now, it’s not so clear.

They haven’t really done anything wrong. Not much is illegal these days anyway. Yet when you look you find yourself grieving as you read that status update or see those recent pictures. If you’re like me, you just wonder, what went wrong? Why didn’t they see it coming? Why don’t they see it now? Come on, make the right move and get back in the race.

Here’s my observation: it was their blind spot. In fact, we all have them, we might even have a few. You know, those areas in our life that we just don’t see.

Others may be shouting at us, doing their very best to gain our attention, warning us of possible dangers, yet for some reason we just continue. We find ourselves on a detour and we never even realised we had got on to another path.

Blind spots are what they are, areas in life that we are blind too. Despite great intelligence we just don’t see what’s there. We can see them in others but not in our own life.

My hope is that it’s happened this way. The alternative is more worrying because then we are guilty of the following:

We pretend it’s not there. It may catch our eye but we carry on anyway.
We ignore it. We convince ourselves that it’s not a big deal.
We see right through it. It’s almost like it has become invisible to us.
We justify it. We explain it away. There is always a reason.
We don’t care. What happens, happens. Bit naive but it is a philosophy some people live by.

I can only encourage you to stay on the right path. Or get back on it.
To do your best to avoid your blind spots. 
Have a good 360° look at life. 
Shine some light on all the dodgy, hard to reach spots. 
Be honest about some decisions you are making that are shaping your life and your future. 
Listen to the wise words of those around you and respond accordingly. 

I really don’t want to see your life take a ‘scenic route’ that could have so easily been avoided. I don’t want to read those updates and get torn up on the inside, trying to work out how I can help you get back on track when possibly you haven’t even realised yet that you are off track.

Come back home! There’s always a way back. You may think you’ve drifted too far but you never have. God’s grace is far-reaching and never-ending. There’ll be no mention made of the detour, just one almighty cheer from me as you get back in the race and fulfil the purposes of God in your life.

Are You Running To Win?

Spoke to the youth leaders tonight. Discussed a new thought with them from a verse that jumped out at me this year while I was completed my read through of the Bible. Check out 1 Cor 9:24: In a race – all the runners run – but only one gets the prize. RUN IN SUCH A WAY AS TO GET THE PRIZE.

This begs the question: are you running to win? Starting to think about this so these are just some intial thoughts…

1. It’s not the taking part that counts
– it’s not about being on the team
– it’s not about being at church every week
– it’s not about doing your bit
It’s about WINNING Winning is what matters!! Then you get the prize

So here’s the next Question: What does winning look like for you?
– if you don’t know what the prize looks like how do you know you are running the right race
– you need to be specific about what winning looks like for you so that you know you are winning

Is it to see salvations?
Is it to know that God is changing lives?
Is it about seeing people getting connected?

You can only be ready to win if you know what you are aiming for.

2. You’ve got to WANT it
If you have to want to win, otherwise what you are saying is that you don’t care. If you don’t care then when things get tough you will give up instead of digging in. That attitude is what makes a champion. You need to do everything you can to give yourself every chance of winning.

So here’s another Question: What does it take to put yourself in a winning position?

Choose your race and commit to be the best at it
Train for the race. Get yourself a coach, put your disciplines in place and stick to them.
Have the right pre-race regime. Don’t come in cold, you would lose a race like that. Pray up, come ready.
Get a Race Strategy. Know what you are aiming to achieve and work towards it.
Performance Analysis – did you win?

Anyway – its just the start of a thought at the moment but I want to make sure that I put myself in the best position to win and not run aimlessly. What do you think?