What Type of Race Are YOU Running for the Lord?
by Alvin C. Romer
If life can be akin to a race, it’s my opinion that it would be a marathon as opposed to a sprint. Life is too short to just race for speed. It’s all about endurance and pacing oneself to deal with the stamina needed to live a good life. Racing toward a goal or having aspirations of being the best you can is not uncommon in a common world full of iniquity where scales are not balanced for all things good.
We’re all sinners and have fallen short of God’s dictates that He commanded. Thus, there are many other analogies we can point to remind us that it’s not what race you’re running, but how you run the race. And then again, it may not be all about winning. The keys is FINISHING the race has more merit. Imagine yourself in the starting blocks in the race of your life. Your head is up and poised looking ahead to the finish line. You’re seemingly focused on the starter’s gun hoping not to render a false start. You’re in your own lane knowing that to cross the line into another there’s the possibility of disqualification. The gun goes off and you’re off!
Such is the life of a competitor with one goal in mind – crossing the finish line realizing the victory you think is yours. Such is the life that we all place ourselves in competing for a chance to win at all costs. But think about the type of race that has to be run for you to achieve those goals. I ask you — what type of race are you really running? Are you in a short race just looking for a quick fix to your problems, or would a longer race be to your benefit. Marathons are such that they test your staying power. Are you in the right lanes, though…how are you living?
Before I can extract answers from you, I had to assess the questions for myself and give an account on a personal level. I’ve come to realize that competing in any race only one (runner) will receive the ultimate prize, and that to truly win there’s a lot to be said about HOW you run that race. The gist of this essay is giving examples of how we should run using disciplines to achieve success. How easy (or difficult) is it for us to actually stay in our lanes? Can we finish a course to stick and stay no matter what the consequences? None of this can be accomplished without God in our lives, and certainly not without a regimented plan for redeeming value. Below is my version of how a good race is to be run for the sole purpose of staying steadfast to a regimen for righteous living,
The starting blocks
It starts here. I honestly feel that the reason people have so much problems in their lives is due to the fact that they don’t start out right. They want to be competitive and be in so much of a win win situation that they forget about what it takes to persevere. In this day and time there are obstacles and stumbling blocks all around us. Our economy is in shambles and people are living day to day from paycheck to paycheck trying to make ends meet and sometimes Peter is not in place to rob to pay Paul. You have alreday identified the problematic issues that are plaguing you in your life. You know that to be competitive in the world you need your own space and a sense of worth in it. You see your friends in all types of different light…some are prolific and producing; others are struggling just like you, but may have a few more materialistic things that from the surface looks like something you should have. They’re all in a race against time, a race that has to be run to justify a chance to belong to something good — a win! It would be a chance to perhaps for it to be a stepping stone of promise.
The genesis and key to any race is how you start it. Most prominent people can trace their successes to how and what they were taught as youngsters and how well they assimilated the information. Then there are the applicable measures where they were able to test what they learned. Such is the case when a runner steps in starting places for the race. You have to train and prepare yourself for the battle. You have to be in shape. Being in shape means that bible study is part of your regimen; that having an astute relationship with God where you can talk to Him about anything; that staying the course to bolster your work to build the Kingdom — all of these are solutions to help you start off right. These are the things that will not only keep you battle tested, but par for your course.
I think one of the major maladies in our lives as it pertain to preparation is not having the right frame of mind to allow confidence to play a monumental role in galvanizing the will to win. This is where faith initiatives come in, the innate belief that no matter what, God is going to see you through because He got your back! When you come to the starting blocks already know that you are where you supposed to be and that you’ve done what you had to do to get to this point, and finally that the lane assigned to you will be yours to claim for victory. If you’ve determined that the type of race you’re going to run is a marathon or a long distance race then half the battle is already won. Let’s hope that you took the high road and decided that you wanted to take life seriously enough to allow time to be the better barometer to gauge your progress.
During the race
Now that you’ve bolted out of the blocks, you’re looking down the lane oblivious to the person on either side of you because you are jockeying for position. It’s a long race (just like in life) and you need stability to insure a sense of continuity. Anybody that knows anything about running a race knows that a fast start is essential and that the first 200-500 yards sets the pace in a race for distance. But quite a few things in that time frame will say a lot on how you finish, and how valuable the finish line will be for you — whether you win or lose.
Now that you’ve done what needed to be done and you’re in the best shape you can be in, the spirit within you will take over as you stride for momentum. Your main thought should be do you have enough to be viable, to be visible and to be validated. You would want to allow self, family and community to be the pillars of your strength. Your life will be predicated on values deep within that you can pull forth to identify yourself with dong the right things to be good role models, Your familial order will be in good stead because you will teach your children and train them up with good biblical scripture and your communal order will be to attend church and let it be the rock of congregational coherenece. But of course you know you need to stay in your lane and mind your own business. It’s during the race that all of these things play out to justify the finish.
Approaching the finish line, and life beyond it
The preparation for the final call is where God will call us all before Him to give account for our lives. How well we have lived, or rather, how well we have run the race of life will determine our fate. All thoroughout that race of life you have been holding the virgil and have had the type of stamina to be in position to cross the finish line. But before we get there, one will have to have claimed Jesus as their personal Saviour to make their election and calling surest. All of us want to be in that number, but to get there our lives must be pristine and our souls cleansed enough to pass God’s omnipotence.
I will always contemplate and even debate whether we know that in a race all runners compete, but few truly finish to live a good li
beyond it. It’s imperative that we understand Satan’s role in stopping you from running that perfect race. He will do most anything to throw wrenches into any progress made. Many of the challenges that come our way in life are simply distractions that he creates to try to lure us from our destiny. Living life beyond the finish line means that every precaution to be a winner must be exercised to maintain balance for sustained spirituality. Every day there will be tests where the wherewithal to get upset is greatest—maybe someone is poking, or a competitor is running our of their lane, or someone is backstabbing and fueling the rumor mill. When any of this happens, dismissing all of it and donning the armor of humility is the best course. Think how Jesus would handle it. How would you benefit from actually doing the right thing?
The reason many people are missing out on God’s best by not running good and better races can be attributed to misdirections and distractions in running the type of races that would find them running out of gas before reaching the finish line. I would behoove you to choose to keep your focus and attention on becoming more like Jesus so you can fulfill the destiny He has prepared for you! Refocus and rededicate your life to live one that has meaning and longevity. Say that you are determined to overlook offenses and choose your battles wisely, and that you will run the race you have set before yourself with purpose so you can lay hold of the prize God has for you. Remember, it’s not whether you win or lose but how you run the race for the longer haul!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Avin C. Romer hails from Miami, but the African-American Diaspora is his stage. He brings a passion for books and a lifelong enthusiasm in promoting African-American readership and the adherence to family literary. Alvin is a freelance writer, and a Research Analyst. You can find Alvin online a TheRomerReview.com and his blog, VERBATIM!
He is one of the contributors in the anthology, The Soul of a Man.