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. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.
- 2 Corinthians 9:24-25
Having never been much of a runner in my life, I decided a few years ago to try to challenge myself by participating in a few charity runs. I attended workshops to help me learn how to train and run. Although I was proud to accomplish the races, the hardest part was dedicating time for the training and to have the motivation to train week after week, on good days and bad. The only way I could push through was to focus on the goal. Once the race is over, and after the thrill of the race has passed, I look back and realize how much time and effort I had invested in training and preparation for the race. If the reason for my run was rooted in a meaningful purpose, I notice that I find the experience worthwhile. But for the races where I had superficial reasons for running, oftentimes I look back and wonder why I have wasted so much time on training for the race. I question if it was worth putting my body through the grueling training.
In life, we are pushed to participate in a race to be successful or to achieve certain things in life. Generally, the most sought after dreams have many that try but few who succeed. Those that do have to have the mindset to sacrifice other priorities to grasp those goals. We have to pause and ask if the goals we have chosen are the ones we want to spend the time to train and run for.
Similarly, our faith requires practice and self-discipline. We train by learning the Word, spending time with God through prayer, worship, and being in fellowship with others. A healthy relationship with Christ requires dedication and sometimes even sacrificing other priorities such that our time and energy can be fully focused on God. But unlike other priorities, when the purpose is in the right place, the reward is everlasting. The race towards getting closer to God is a worthwhile reason and experience.
Reflection: If our faith is like a race, how would you train to be a better athlete in your faith?
As you explore contemporary and traditional worship music channels on Christian Calm Radio, also look into our weekly blog. This week's focus will be on the topic of self-discipline, which will relate training for a race to training for our faith, in "Running for the Reason".