When I was in High School, I ran sprints on our track team. I loved running fast ever since I was a little boy. When I was a little boy, we ran everywhere we went. Eventually I got a bicycle, and that changed things a bit. However, I High School I reignited the joy of running, and racing. I ran all the shorter distances. I thought a quarter mile was a distance race. Obviously, I had a different perspective than the track and field world today. My favorite part of the race was being able to hit the finish line first.
I was blessed to be able to do that a few times, and the thrill of crossing that line, knowing you were the first one to get there was amazing. As I watched all the other races throughout the track meets, I would see one things that all the racers had in common. Regardless of how far they had run, every person who crossed the line, leaned forward, straining for all they were worth to get the best possible time they could. Crossing that finish line marked the accomplishment of a goal they had set out to achieve.
Today I want to share with you one verse from James 1. “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him” (James 1:12). Do you realize that God wants you and I to run this race we call life, to win! He is not interested in giving us a “participation trophy.” He wants His children to run in a way that proves our love for Him. Understand that when you run this race we call life, with a passion in our souls, that pleases our Heavenly Father.
You know, when I was a junior and senior in High School, winning one of those races I ran was a pretty big deal. Just a few months ago, I was talking with one of our children, and I mentioned something about having set a record in track while I was in High School. I ran on a relay team that set and re-set a record in the 880-yard dash. My child was amazed that I was capable of that feat, however, no one else in the world has any idea about that old record! It is meaningless today. James tells us that we have a race to run. There will be temptation, and trials. If we continue strong to the end, there is a crown!
I want to encourage you to live your life today as if you are running in the most important race in the world. In fact, you are! You have one life to live. Run with every fiber of your body straining for the finish line! Don’t coast. Don’t pull up short. Don’t simply jog through your life. Give it all you have and press for that finish line! Finish strong!