“I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 3:14, NIV
In the coming days the focus of the whole sporting world will be on the Olympic Games. Over a billion people watched the opening ceremony in London and billions more will be watching as the contestants strive against each other for the highest possible sporting achievement that our world has to offer – Olympic gold! And I will be one of them, glued to the TV screen whenever I can get the chance to see these modern-day Olympians going for gold. Inevitably, as the events unfold and the final races are run, there will be tears of intense disappointment as well as tears of great joy.
At times like this I am always reminded of a much more important race – the race of life. This is a race that is not just for a few super-fit Olympians, but a race into which all of humanity has been entered, with the opportunity of striving, not for Olympic gold, but the gold of eternity. We are not running against each other, but against all the obstacles that Satan puts in the way of mankind to prevent us from reaching that golden moment of eternal destiny! And yes, there will be tears of not just disappointment, but anguish as people realise that they have ignored the truth about God and have been running to serve themselves.
Satan does all he can to blind the eyes of the world to the absolute truth that is found in the Son of God. He doesn’t want people to discover that there is One who has already run the greatest race there has ever been and come forth as gold. Jesus’ desire is that we would join Him in His victory procession when, at the end of time, all the powers of darkness will be seen for what they are. All who come to God the Father through Him, trusting in His righteousness and not in our own, will be partakers of the prize which Paul talks about in our Scripture.
And then, for those who have come to know Him, God has a destiny for us to walk in – a purpose to live for – a race to be run. And it is as we walk in his ways and learn to be obedient to his voice that we will have the opportunity to gain the rewards, the ultimate prizes, which Paul reminds us about, and that God has stored up for those who love Him.
Prayer: Help me, Lord, to always remember that I have been entered in a race which is far more important than any event at the Olympic Games. Help me to be aware of, and avoid, the pitfalls along the way, and to so hear and respond to your voice that nothing will get in the way of winning the prize that You have stored up for me in eternity. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.