Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.
- 1 Corinthians 9:24
When I was back in elementary school, I entered a lot of races. I never won any of them, but I had a lot of those honorable mention ribbons on the wall. (Honorable mention ribbons are basically an acknowledgement that you exist.)
Writing to the believers living in the ancient city of Ephesus, the apostle Paul compared a believer's walk with Christ to that of a runner in a race. Paul liked using the analogy of running races. He used it many times. He wrote, "Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it" (1 Corinthians 9:24). That is the goal: to win, not to get last place or an honorable mention.
Paul went on to say, "I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified" (verse 27). In other words, Paul was saying that he had to play by the rules. We can't just make up the rules as we go. We have to run the race the way God tells us to run it. And the rule book, so to speak, is the Bible. The Bible is far more than a mere rule book, of course. But it does tell us what not to do as well as what we should do.
Basically, we need to do what God says in His Word. And He has given us His parameters for our own good, to keep us from harm and danger.
So we should run to win. There is no place for mediocrity as a follower of Jesus Christ. We should do the best we can possibly do and give the best that we can give to God. Let's go for the gold.