Every race has a winner.
Not every race, however, has to have a loser.
Sometimes, by simply running the race you have won the battle. The word for that is perseverance.
Paul understood the way God designed the Christian faith. While Christ had won the battle over Satan and death, we must continue here on our earthly mission until He calls us home.
So how do we face this race?
He gives us insight in his writing in 2 Timothy 4:7 & 8- I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
He is not boasting that he is deserving this award.
He is simply stating that God will give all who can stand before Him in judgment the trophy that they have earned by living day-to-day in an effort to please Him. Our crown of righteousness comes from accepting the call of faith from Christ. After we do so, then we face a new way of living.
The ‘old’ manner of our sinful nature suddenly becomes something to be wrestled with rather than encouraged. We wrestle daily in this fight. We sweat, pant, and droop with the effort to see the finish line before us. We struggle to maintain our faith.
The journey itself is NOT for a crown or trophy.
To truly know Jesus is to know that being a beacon of light that even remotely reflects His love is the greatest award one can win.
To understand the magnitude of God’s love in His plan to bring us into His presence by sending His only Son Jesus to save us after humanity’s choice to fall into sin puts all other meanings of love into a different perspective.
We are to walk on in this race not for crowns or glory, but for the simple truth that in running our race we become closer to the God who loves us so much that he is willing to vanqish our sins and reward our faithfulness.