One of my most embarrassing moments happened several years ago on a beautiful summer evening. My family, along with several neighbouring families, were gathered on the high school track and football field behind our houses. Some were playing frisbee, others were kicking a ball around, and our kids were enjoying a friendly competition with the kids next door in a hundred metre dash. They raced each other again and again, and then invited the adults to join in the fun. After losing to his Daddy, our son challenged me to a race—an easy win, he thought. Knowing it wouldn’t be much longer that I could outrun my boy, I accepted the challenge. Neighbours were cheering on the sidelines as my hubby shouted, “On your mark, get set—go!” The race was neck in neck, admittedly closer than I thought it would be. Then, about mid-way down the track, my son pulled ahead by a few strides. I couldn’t lose to a 12-year-old! So, gritting my teeth and mustering every ounce of energy I had, I willed my legs to move faster.
That’s when it happened. As my body leaned forward, I tripped over my own two feet, falling face first and landing in a contorted heap in the middle of the track. Yes—right in front of all the neighbours. As my son celebrated at the finish line, I picked myself up, spit red gravel from my mouth and examined my bloody knees. Although I’d rather forget the embarrassing outcome, I often think about the surprising sheer determination that rose from some place deep inside me. It was a resolve to run as hard as I could to win the race. And that desire only increased as my boy took the lead and I chased him towards the finish line.
Isn’t this how we are to live our Christian lives?
As followers of Christ, we passionately run towards Him with every bit of energy we have. Our determination and desire to finish our race well ought to motivate us to chase after our Lord and fulfill our callings. Far too often fear keeps us shackled or apathy cools our affections for Jesus and renders us ineffective in the race of life.
The Apostle Paul was a man with a sordid past. As a self-proclaimed chief of sinners, he knew what it was to vehemently oppose the work of Christ. But after his transformative encounter with the risen Christ, he understood the passion and perseverance of pressing on towards His Saviour. In Philippians 3:12114 he said, “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
Paul wouldn’t allow anything—even his ugly past—to prevent him from running towards the goal. He strained forward with all the time and energy and resources he had to what lay ahead, the prize of living for Christ.
It’s been a few years since that fateful day on the backyard track, and although I’m much older and wiser now, I have become much slower. I don’t pretend to think I could beat my son in a footrace. However, only by the grace of God I can say that I am running faster towards Christ. Sometimes I still fall, but when I do, Jesus lifts me up, dusts me off, and strengthens me to continue the race. He will do the same for you. Run towards Him, sweet friend.
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