In It to Win It

But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. - Acts 20:24

The analogy of running was one the apostle Paul favored in his writings. He often compared the believer to a runner in a race. For example, he wrote that we need to run in the race of life to win: "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 participate in a competitive sport, I always try to win. That doesn't mean I do. In fact, it seems like I lose most of the time. But at least I try, and I enjoy the competition. And when we are in the race of life, we need to run to win. When we watch athletes compete in the Olympics, we primarily celebrate those who win the gold. In the same way, we need to run the race to win-not to get second or third or fourth place or an honorable mention.

But in running to win, we also need to understand who our competitors are. I am not competing with you. I am not trying to beat you in the race of life. You are not trying to beat me. Our real enemies-our competitors, if you will-are the world, the flesh, and the devil (see 1 John 2:16). That is what we are trying to overcome.

I have my lane that I'm running in, which is the life that I have to live and the challenges that I have to face. And my job is to complete my race. You have your lane as well, with your unique challenges and goals.

But ultimately we all have the same goal of running for God and honoring and glorifying Him. And we must run to win.