Paul here is warning against apathy, against the danger of assuming that once you become a Christian, it doesn’t matter how you live your life. He wants to show us what could be lost out on and uses the image of a race to do so. It is not an apathetic image but rather a one of a passionate exhortation to work, labour, etc.
- It is all-consuming preparation – full time, constant, habitual
- The athletes who want to win think differently to other people
- It requires discipline – to train when you don’t feel like it or aren’t in the mood
- We have to train as Christians – same application for getting the most out of our relationship with God, to do great things for God with our life: we have to press through and persevere
- We also encourage one another to press on
- We are always fighting against the temptation to give up and throw in the towel, because following God’s will is never easy. But there is more we are capable of than we realise, we are able to handle more than we realise – because of the grace and power of God
- Training requires focus – you have to turn your focus away from other things
- The PRIZE:
- Many people think this is heaven, to obtain eternal life, but Paul already knew he was going to heaven because of his faith in Christ and the fact that God had saved him. Eternal life is a gift to be received not a prize to be won.
- The prize is the reward of a life lived with God. Not every Christian will receive the full reward of their life – some people will be saved ‘as one through fire’ – with nothing to show for their life, nothing achieved for God.
- God saved us for good works – we have a unique plan for our life.
- We all pursue different prizes in life – but all apart from the reward of doing God’s will are perishable, they do not last
- We need to SEE the imperishable prize before us – we need to see the end goal
- Paul saw that goal and was obedient to the vision
- We have to see the end, have to have it in sight to keep going
- Don’t be so short-sighted – see something better than this passing age
- JESUS is the only reason we get to take part in the race in the first place. He has gone ahead and run the race for us, and now we get to run our own race with His help and power.