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Running the Race

by Pastor Ralph J. Mineo

Life is like a race. In Philippians 3:14, Paul reminds us to “keep our eyes on the goal, the prize, God’s heavenly call.” Hebrews 12:2 says it best by teaching us to “keep our eyes fixed on Jesus.”

The Greek word for race is “agon,” the root of our English word “agony.” Though a race isn’t always “agony,” it often is. The race of life can be difficult! For almost 40 years, the introduction of the television program, “The Wide World of Sports,” reminded us about “the thrill of victory, and the agony of defeat.” Not always, but at some point, we all experience agony.

Those who keep their minds fixed on Jesus know that agony is not life’s end result. When we focus on Jesus, divine grace and love brings us to the victory! It’s really encouraging to know that, in the race of life, Jesus will guide us, nourish us, and get us to the finish line!

The Summer Olympic Games were held in Barcelona, Spain in 1992. One of the 400-meter race runners was an English athlete, Derek Redmond. While sprinting, he pulled a hamstring and fell to the track in great pain. Determined to go on, Derek struggled to his feet. As he hobbled toward the finish line, his father scaled the retaining wall and jumped onto the track. Jim Redmond reached his son before anyone could stop him. Leaning on his father’s shoulder, the young runner staggered to complete the race. The entire crowd stood and cheered the two men on. When they crossed the finish line, it was as if runner, father, and spectators had done it together. Yes, we’re in this race of life together and divine love will get us to the finish line!

Ironically, the only reason we can reach this victory is because of the greatest moment in the history of humanity, which looks like the greatest “agony of defeat” moment ever, the Son of God crucified, is also the greatest moment of victory. This is unlike any human victory. It’s God’s victory! In the long run (pun intended), this is really the only victory worth our life’s focus!

We don’t wait until death for this victory. In Christ, it’s part of our everyday experience. We daily lift our minds and hearts, giving thanks for, and participating in, the divine victory.

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