I was leading a mission team to South Africa, when a team member asked about plans for the next day. My response was, “We’ve got to hit the ground running if we are to accomplish our tasks tomorrow.”
There is an African proverb that expressed my thoughts very well: “Every morning the impala awakes knowing that it must outrun the fastest lion if it wants to stay alive. Every morning the lion awakes knowing it must outrun the slowest impala or it will starve. It makes no difference if you are a lion or an impala, when the sun comes up in Africa you must wake up running.”
The Apostle Paul compares the Christian life to a race. Here are four principles Paul uses in his analogy of the Christian life and a foot race:
- Striving for the Prize: “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.” (1 Corinthians 9:24, NIV)
- Stripping for the Contest: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” (Hebrews 12:1, NIV)
- Hindrances to the Runner: “You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth?” (Galatians 5:7, NIV)
- Pressing toward the Goal: “I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” (Philippians 3:14 NIV)
In Paul’s farewell address, he once again evoked the image of his race for eternal life: “I have fought a good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith: Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness” (2 Timothy 4:7-8, NIV). Like the African proverb, we need to wake up running. Then we need keep on running: “But the one who endures to the end will be saved” (Matthew 24:13, ESV). Scripture puts us on notice: “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8, NIV).
How are you doing in your race for eternal life? Are you strong because of feeding on God’s word? Are you exercising your faith? Are you keeping fit in your prayer life? Have you stripped away the earthly weights and your sin? The enemy of man’s soul will catch the spiritually weak and slow. Are you lagging behind? If so, go quickly to the Lord to confess, repent, and receive grace. He will enable you to run strong.
In Him, You Can Out Run The Fastest Lion
“But the one who endures to the end will be saved”.
~ Brother Roy