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The emphasis in our passage this week, is on running the race like we want to win it!  It’s not half-hearted.

Most Christmases, we get together with some of one of our daughter’s extended family by marriage.  In that group is a man who has won a silver and a gold medal in the decathalon--10 track and field events that show him to be a well-rounded athlete.

We have seen those beautiful medals up close!  They really are stunning!  But they stand for something that is even greater than simply a shiny medal.  

They represent the culmination of years of hard work, training every day, lifting weights, running, jumping, and eating foods that would make him healthy so he could win races.  He didn’t do all that work just to look good out there on the field.  He did it to WIN THE RACE.  He plans his strategy knowing which events he is good at and will score well and which are his weaker events and he wil not score as well.  He knows  the score he needs to get on each individual event…and if he does poorly on one event, he needs to figure out where he can make up his score in another event so he can win.

Now, he is one of a very select group of people who can say, “I have won an olympic medal.”  There is a good kind of pride that goes with that statement.  It represents a commitment to a goal that he was fortunate enough to reach.

When I hear how hard he has had to work, how focused his life has had to be, how careful he has to be with each thing he takes into his mouth for good health or that could affect the spot checks for enhancement drugs…I realize I don’t have that kind of commitment to living my life that way!

But that day in China, when he came over the finish line and knew he had won gold, he would have told you it was worth every minute of hard work, of practicing in the rain, of sweating in the heat and training his mind to win that prize!

Crossing the finish line..

That is what our arrival in heaven will be like…in spades!  I can’t imagine having the athletic ability to be able to excell in this arena.  It is so NOT my gift!  But it is a great picture of what running the race with this attitude will be like for us when we arrive in heaven.

At times, it doesn’t look like I am truly serious about running this race to WIN!  As I look to this new year and consider my goal to TRIM THE FAT in new areas, these verses are a challenge to me.

How about you?


 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run,

but only one gets the prize?

Run in such a way as to get the prize.  

Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training.

They do it to get a crown that will not last,

but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.  

Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; 

I do not fight like a boxer beating the air.  

No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave

so that after I have preached to others,

I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

I Corinthians 9:24-27