By: Maggie Morrison
Have you ever run a marathon? I am not a long distance runner, but I have seen plenty of them on television. One of the things that always impresses me is how many people are required to pull the race together. It is so much more than just the runners. I believe the people who get the least amount of credit are the volunteers who stand on the sidelines handing out water as the runners pass by.
Paul loved to compare our faith in Jesus to a race. In 1 Corinthians 9:24 (NIV) he said, “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.” Paul was comparing the discipline required to follow Jesus to the Isthmian games. These were held in Corinth and were most equivalent to our Olympics today, so the Corinthians were very aware of the physical discipline and training needed to compete.
In today’s world, you can be the fastest runner in the Olympics, but if you don’t stay on the designated track, you will be disqualified. The purpose of God’s Word is to align us with God’s will so we can ensure our victory. This verse in 1 Corinthians speaks to the importance of the Great Commission. We are to make disciples! Our race is about living in a way that brings others to the feet of King Jesus. We are to show He is Lord of our lives by example. Paul went on in verses 26 and 27 to say, “Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” Paul was making the point that our ability to make disciples is related to our willingness to be a disciple first! If we cannot fight our own flesh and discipline our own bodies for the sake of Christ, then our testimony is of no value.
Paul understood the call on his life to make disciples, and he ran his race accordingly. Jesus is the King of the Kingdom. He has already won the race, we just have to stay on the track. How amazing to know that we have already chosen the winning team, we just have to finish the race!
Let us make sure that as we run our race we don’t forget to accept water from those on the sidelines. The women God has put in our lives to encourage, correct, and support us have something to offer that we need in order to reach our finish line. Let us never miss the importance of a water break, both for ourselves and for others!