Life for the Christian is a race. Richard Petty, the king of racing, says, “To finish first, first you have to finish.” So it is for the Christian. Racers race for a certain amount of time to win trophies they can display. They have multiple races during a season to determine the champion. Christians have only one race that lasts a lifetime. Our goal is to win crowns that we will cast at our Savior’s feet when we get to Heaven. Just like racing cars, there is a strategy to race the Christian life. What we accomplish during our short time here in this life determines our rewards in Heaven.
Christians must live their lives with an all-out pursuit of Christ. Those who have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb lean in, seeking to run longer, go higher, serve better, love deeper, and live more faithfully according to what God has given us in His Word. We pursue transformation into the image of our Savior from glory to glory, and we seek to help other believers do the same (2 Cor. 3:18). We run the race of faith set before us.
Ending the race well is not easy and is not an accident. Too many professing Christians try to please God with their own efforts. Others disregard God’s law entirely, distorting our freedom in Christ into lawlessness. Even worse, the church often encourages this.
I have seen it again and again as I read about what is going on in my own Southern Baptist Convention as well the UMC, PCUSA, and almost every other group calling themselves Christian. The focus has been lost somewhere along the line. Trying to do good, the church has taken its focus off the Gospel and put it on political, social, and cultural issues that at best are marginal to the Gospel. We too easily forget the Gospel of God’s grace that presents Christ alone as the Savior and Sanctifier of His people. He tells us who value the reign of God over their lives and who diligently pursue righteous living can trust God to satisfy all of their needs (Matt. 6:3).