Imagine the spiritual race that is set before you every day and this race is the race to see the face of Jesus Christ. It is the most important and rewarding race that you will ever run in your life. The prize after your race will be an incorruptible crown that you will receive in the presence of Jesus Christ and once you receive it you will then cast it at the feet of Jesus Christ. In biblical times crowns were made of wild olive branches for the Olympic Games and all of the crowns were corruptible meaning they would start withering the moment that they were made. The crown that you will receive in heaven is eternal and will never wither as it will be a permanent trophy representing your life on this earth as it reaches its final state of construction. There are no do-overs. There is no coming back to earth to continue to work on the crown or add to it. Whatever it looks like by the end of the running of your race will be your final crown to be laid at the feet of King Jesus. If this race is the most important race that you will ever run then how should you run?
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 says, “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.”
This verse reveals four things that will be required to run the race to see God’s face and complete the race victoriously.
1. YOU MUST RUN THE RACE TO WIN
Those who run the race of faith well on the earth position their hearts to run to win. Paul declares that we should run to obtain the prize. Serving Jesus well all the days of your life is not a hobby. It is not an extracurricular activity. Your race to see His face should be the most important thing in your life. In Greek the word obtain means to seize tight, lay hold of, catch, capture, or arrest your victory. We are not called to run the race of faith with a defeated mindset but like an Olympian runner who has their eyes set on the crown of victory.
Galatians 6:9 says, “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”
2. YOU MUST RUN WITH SELF-CONTROL TO WIN
Winning the race requires the runner to be temperate in all things which means to be self-controlled if they desire to win. Participants in the Olympian Isthmian Games of biblical times trained for 10 months and even stayed in tents during their entire stay. They were required to be full-blooded Greek and have no debt. Their last month was spent in Corinth under supervised workouts. They were to deny personal pleasures in all things. They did all that for a crown that was corruptible and would wither. If we are going to win the eternal race then we must run this race of faith with self-control allowing the fruit of the Spirit to train our lives to be Godly.
Galatians 5:22-23 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”
3. YOU MUST RUN WITH A FIGHT INSIDE OF YOU
In every victorious person that competes there is an inward fight inside of them. Paul says you can’t run with uncertainty in your heart. Uncertainty in Greek means without a certain aim insight or out of sight. Set your eyes on Jesus the Author and Finisher of your faith knowing that you are victorious because Christ is victorious. You can’t fight when victory in Christ Jesus is not seen. The word fight in Greek means to box or engage in spiritual warfare giving your all to to be a victor in God’s race of faith. Paul said that he does not fight or box as one beating against the air. The time is now to rise up and allow the Holy Spirit to empower you to fight the good fight and finish the race well.
2 Timothy 4:7-8 says, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.”
4. YOU MUST DISCIPLINE YOUR BODY TO FINISH STRONG
Paul made sure that his body was disciplined to run the race of faith, communicating the need to make your body subject to you. This is extremely important because sometimes our bodies try to tell us what we are going to do. We must make our bodies submit to our will in connection to God’s will. Every day your flesh and your spirit will be at war while you run this race. The Word of God is clear that we must walk in the Spirit and we will not fulfill the lust of the flesh. Fasting and prayer are definitely ways to proactively discipline your body to be subject to your spirit man.
Galatians 5:16-17 says, “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.”
Remember, the most important thing that you will ever do is run the race to see His face. Run to be victorious and lay hold of your eternal crown that you will cast at the feet of Jesus.
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Caleb Cooper is a firebrand revivalist that operates in the Apostolic and Prophetic, believing God to change atmospheres and transform regions with revival and awakening. He ministers out of a heart that believes we are the generation that will see the coming of the Lord. Caleb Cooper received his Doctorate Degree in Biblical Studies from FountainGate School of Revival in Mesa, Arizona and has served as a Senior Pastor for over a decade. Caleb Cooper currently Pastors New Hope Revival Church in Truth Or Consequences, NM