"Therefore, I do not run like one who runs aimlessly . . . "
-1 Corinthians 9:26
As a track coach, I've gone to many coaching clinics. At once such clinic, I heard an old coach say that there were three laws of running. Now, that got my attention. I wanted to know the basics of good running and share them with my athletes. He shared these as his laws:
1. Keep your eye on the finish line. Don't get distracted, stay focused.
2. Don't worry about the other runners. Don't look around to see where they are or what they're doing.
3. Don't give up, keep running. Finish the race and finish strong.
These basic truths of running to win can be used in running the race of life. Paul says that we're to "run in such a way as to get the prize" (1 Corinthians 9:24, NIV). So, you and I, as believers, can use these three laws when trying to win in life.
First, we must keep our eyes on the Lord and what He's called us to do. Being focused will give us the strength and courage to seize the moment. Second, we can't worry about what others are doing. It's so easy to want to compare ourselves to others, but we can't! We can't let anything or anyone draw our attention away from the Lord and what He has called us to do. Fact: It's hard to follow Jesus if our eyes are focused on those around us. Third, when circumstances or criticism try to slow us down, we must ignore them and keep on running. Carl Lewis once said, "My thoughts before a big race are usually pretty simple. I tell myself: 'Get out of the blocks, run your race, stay relaxed. If you run your race, you'll win.'" Fact: What gets our attention gets us. Victorious living comes by keeping our hearts and heads focused on the Lord.
Remember what Paul wrote about not running aimlessly. In other words, don't let anything hinder you, or stop God's calling on your life. As you remain faithful -- your eye on the Lord, not worrying about others, and keeping a strong pace to the finish line -- the Lord will give you the reward for a race well run.
1. How would describe "focus" as a Christian?
2. Have you gotten caught up in comparing yourself with others? What can you do to stop that?
3. What's the best way to handle destructive criticism?
4. What did Paul mean by what he wrote in 1 Corinthians 9:26?
"Lord, help me to run the race You have marked out for me. May I be pleasing to You in all I do."