1 Corinthians 9:24-27
I like to run so I’ve always loved the visual that the above scriptures provide. I always envisioned Jesus ahead of me, encouraging me to keep running towards Him. Recently, however, Jesus impressed upon me a very important point. Regardless of the battle, the victory, or the circumstantial race that I am in, He is right there with me in it. This new level of insight changed how I envisioned this scripture. It was as if I saw Jesus standing right where I’m standing rather than ½ a mile ahead of me. You see, I’ve always thought of the race as a process of obtaining the prize at the end of the race. While this may be true of this world, God wants us to run differently than the world. To help us do so, He sent His son who through the process of salvation within us, resides in us, and makes us His home. He lives is in us as we run the race; He takes each step with us, within us. Hold on; there’s more…
What is truly exciting about this is this: He is the prize! God wants us to run the race in such a way as we KNOW that while yes, we must run the race, we’ve already won! Jesus is the prize! Running with this truth allows us to run in present victory rather than run with the hope of eventually obtaining the future prize. Do you see how this perspective allows victory to be present-centered rather than future focused? As Christians, we are to live in such a way to let the world know that we know that we’ve already won. Have you ever heard that saying, “If you are saved, remind your face.” ? It seems that a bunch of us, me included, have been running around as if we “hope” to win - when in fact, God is saying, “I’ve already won! My Son paid the price; now, walk in that victory, child. – No, run!”
Let’s add another layer to this lesson. Since life is “all relational,” we know that the prize in any situation (whether we win or ‘seemingly’ lose) is not the earthly prize that is obtained, but the depth of our relationship with Christ that results from the victory or ‘defeat.’ You see, when we look at Jesus as the prize in any situation, we don’t trip by the worldly results that we see before us. In this way, even if we “appear to have lost the race,” if we have pressed into Christ, and relied on Him, talked with Him, and trusted Him through the process, our relationship with Him becomes more intimate and He responds to our deep need for Him. As a result, our relationship with Christ grows to new levels. And that, my fellow runners, is the prize! Do you see? He is the prize! Jesus is our prize in any race, any situation, any circumstance, any victory or apparent “defeat” – He is the prize. When we get a hold of this truth, we truly can run in such a way as to show that we already know that we have obtained the prize in Christ Jesus. It is the process of trusting in Him that allows us to obtain the prize right now in the present. It’s a beautiful gift, and it has been graciously presented to those of us who race towards eternity, but who know that we can live victoriously now!