Running the Race
Have you competed in a race?
About twenty-five years ago, I ran past my high school competitor and rounded the track when it happened. Pain seared up my side and cramped my leg. I gasped trying to refocus on the finish line, but the pain consumed me.
I finished the race but not very well.
This week I learned about Shabir Hussain winning one of the toughest marathons in the world three times!
The Khardungla Marathon originated in India in 2012 after a flood killed 200 people and left many more homeless. Its purpose was to encourage people to press forward no matter the circumstances.
Participants are required to come two weeks early to prepare for this grueling race of extreme temperatures, varying altitudes, and rugged terrain. Only 150 runners are accepted due to the rigorous conditions.
Another amazing athlete is Jason Caldwell.
He and his team crushed the world's toughest rowing race in 35 days! The Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge is a 3,000 mile rowing race from the Canary Islands to the West Indies.
Contestants face monstrous waves, constant two hour rowing shifts, salt sores, and mental exhaustion. All this work for the glory of rowing across the ocean.
Quarterback Tom Brady at age forty-three is competing in his 10th superbowl. He has the "highest combined regular and postseason winning percentage of any quarterback in NFL history."
All three men excelled in their sport because they FOCUSED ON THEIR GOAL.
They were determined and committed to do their best no matter what. Giving up and cutting corners weren't options.
As Christians, we are running in a spiritual race and want to finish well. The only way is to keep FOCUSED ON THE GOAL.
"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." Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV
How do we do this?
We lay aside distractions (every weight). Life can be hard sometimes, but the pain is temporary. We need to think about what really matters and renew our minds with Scripture.
I can read my Bible in the mornings but then not really think about it all day. If I'm renewing my mind, I must incorporate it into my day. Maybe I listen to encouraging podcasts or music, put Scripture verses in my car, work, or places of activity.
Tom Brady's secret weapon was transforming his mind. He saw a psychologist in college who helped him change his mindset. He stopped focusing on the numbers and started focusing on doing his best no matter what. It changed his career.
Scripture is clear that our minds are powerhouses. What we think about influences us.
If we are going to run the race well, we must keep focused on Jesus by transforming our minds with Scripture.