When I was on our high school track and field team, I had a teammate who decided he wanted to run the mile in a track meet. Unfortunately for him, he was not prepared and did not know how the race should be run or what his body could handle. At the sound of the gun, he basically sprinted out to an early lead, but he did not have nearly enough stamina to keep such a pace. Instead, he was exhausted by the end of the first lap, began to get passed by several runners and then eventually all the runners, before he finally collapsed and failed to finish the race.
A lack of preparation and understanding was this boy’s undoing, and he failed as a result. I do not believe he ever attempted the mile run again.
Life is often compared to a race – and for good reason. Races, especially longer races, are hard work, and to do well, they require preparation, determination, perseverance, and effort. Unfortunately, too many people often do not finish well.
The race eventually ends for everyone, but will you finish the race. Will you cross the finish line by living the life God has called you to live and having a right relationship with Him? That finish line is the only one that truly matters, and His Word is the only book of instruction that can tell us how to get there.
May we never be like so many of the illegitimate believers who were the first readers of Paul’s letter to the Galatians. “You were running well. Who prevented you from obeying the truth?” (Galatians 5:7).
While many of the Galatians had professed to believe in Jesus Christ, they had strayed off the path and were in danger of failing to finish the race. Sin and a false gospel had caused them to look to themselves and a false religious system for a right relationship with God. Only Jesus can give us a right relationship with God, though, and trusting in anyone or anything else will only lead to enslavement to sin and the resulting eternal death.
The good news for followers of Jesus, though, is that “Christ has liberated us to be free. Stand firm then and don’t submit again to a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1). Trusting any message and religious system other than the gospel of Jesus Christ is submitting to a yoke of slavery leading to eternal damnation.
On Sunday morning, Lord willing, I will be preaching on “The Response to Grace” (Galatians 5:1-15). Our response to the gospel of grace must be biblically faithful (true to the Word of God). Otherwise, we will not finish the race God has created us to run. We will consider Sunday morning how to run that race – how to respond to God’s amazing grace.
Will you finish the race? Only by the grace of God and your ongoing faith in and dependence on Christ. Every other way and attempt will lead to your collapse and destruction. Let us look to the Lord and His Word for everything we need to finish the race.