My life is a race in which I participate. Sometimes I sit as a spectator and look at my life from afar. But that is not what I am called to do. I am called to run this race with all that I am and to run this race to honor my Savior. Training is the key to doing this. I want to be able to say, as Paul did in 2 Timothy 4:7, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
Training takes active participation. It takes work to be in shape to finish a race strong. God has shown me some things I need to do to be in shape for this race called life. He has shown me in His Word how to accomplish this.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 tells me: “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.”
From this passage, I learn that I must know my aim for running and keep my body under control at all times. Well, I know what my aim is. It is to honor my Savior at all times and to show His glory to others. I do not honor Jesus when I give in to my temptations. I am not showing others that I have been given all that I need to fight my temptations through the Spirit who dwells in me.
Training takes a mind and a heart that are focused on the Lord. Titus 2:11-14 tells me to renounce ungodliness and to live a self-controlled and upright, godly life now as I wait for the Lord’s return. These verses tell me why I want to do these things. It is to be a person who is ready to obey His will for my life. All because Jesus was willing to do His Father’s will.
Philippians 4:8 goes on in this training by telling me what to think about while I am training. This verse tells me to dwell on what is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, and commendable.
When my mindset is on these things, my focus will be on Jesus and not on the lies the world and Satan tell me. 2 Thessalonians 3:3 promises me that the Lord is faithful and will guard me against the evil one. Isaiah 58:11 states that God will guide me, strengthen me, and satisfy all my needs. His Word will feed me and keep me watered like a garden whose spring never fails.
Training also gives me the endurance I need to finish the race of life well.
Hebrews 12:1-2 shows me how to do this. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
So I will do my training in life with my eyes on Jesus. Why? Because He endured the cross for me. He died so I might live eternally. He is my Lord and Savior. His love flows over me continually. In gratitude, I will show Him my love by obeying His will for me. We do not do this automatically. It takes training.