How to Finish the Race With Joy

92818945The Apostle Paul described life as a race and declared that he had finished his race with joy.  How can we, like Paul, finish our race – our life with joy?

  • Run your race with your eye on the prize – don’t compare your ministry to others.  As humans, our eyes can only focus in one direction. We can either focus straight ahead, up or down, left or right.  If we are running a race, our focus should be straight ahead, toward the finish line.  Runners who look elsewhere will slow down, stumble or get out of their lane (and disqualified). Likewise, Christians should focus on their own ministry.  Don’t waste time
  • or effort comparing your ministry or your life with others or desire to do what God has called someone else to do.  These distractions will only slow you down.  Comparison is the thief of joy as it robs us of our own accomplishments.  Instead, stay in your lane and run your race with your focus straight ahead on the winner’s prize.
  • Live a disciplined life with a disciplined body – avoid things that derail success. Prize winning athletes eat, train and live in a manner that ensures maximum performance. They avoid things that hinder their success.  Likewise, Paul taught the importance of a disciplined life and the need to keep our bodies in submission. To do otherwise, is a life out of control.  How can we achieve anything for His Kingdom if we can’t even control what we personally say, do or think?  An unruly life entangles us, hinders our race and steals our joy.
  • Understand that the journey is not the prize – your
    eternal prize will not be received in this life.  
    Paul suffered many things during his ministry.  He was persecuted, shipwrecked, beaten, rejected, criticized, cold, exhausted, hungry, etc., but Paul was able to endure all this and more because he knew that the journey was not the end game.  As he ran his race, Paul focused on his future crown of righteousness.  All his sufferings were temporary, but his final prize is eternal.  Like Paul, we shouldn’t expect an easy path as we run this race.  The best athletes have trained their bodies and minds to work through the pain with a relentless endurance supported by a strong will to finish the race.  The final prize is worth it all.
  • Remember those who ran this race before you – we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses.  Saints of the past have also run the race of a believer’s life. Press on with patience, knowing others before you ran this race and accomplished great things. Let their faithful lives be an encouragement as you press on.
  • Push yourself – give it all you have.  Races are won when the athletes give it their all. They did their best and, as a result, they won the prize that they had set out to achieve.

Joy comes when we finish a well-run race.  Run to win, keep your eye on the prize and you, like Apostle Paul, will finish your race with JOY!

References: 1 Corinthians 9:24; 2 Timothy 4:7-8; Galatians 2:2 & 5:7; Philippians 2:16 & 3:14; and Hebrews 12:1-2.

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