The christian life is likened to a race or a marathon that begins on earth and ends in heaven, and which requires commitment and dedication to God. Sadly, there are christians who, for one reason or another, have not really “ran well.” Perhaps lukewarmness, indifference, or complacency, may have crept into their lives. Let us be mindful that we are living in the “last days” where love and obedience to God have waned considerably, and become practically non-existent for some.
Obviously, the Galatians started off well in their endeavors and enthusiasm about the christian life but, alas, something happened. In his letter to them, the apostle Paul pointed out, “You were running well, who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion is not from Him who calls you” (Galatians 5:7-8). From “Him” who calls you refers to God.
In his commentary on Hebrews 12:1, William MacDonald aptly wrote the following, “The Christian life is a race that requires discipline and endurance. We must strip ourselves of everything that would impede us. Weights are things that may be harmless in themselves and yet hinder progress; they could include material possessions, family ties, the love of comfort, lack of mobility, etc…. We must guard against the notion that the race is an easy sprint, that everything in the Christian life is rosy. We must be prepared to press on with perseverance through trials and temptation” (Believer’s Bible Commentary p. 2202).
The christian race requires dedication in worship, service, and obedience to God and must be run with hope, faith and patience, otherwise we will never get to the finish line. As Paul was nearing the end of his life, he wrote this to Timothy: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7). Paul had many challenges in his life. He was beaten, imprisoned, shipwrecked and stoned. Yet, he never gave in nor gave up. Paul also had in mind, as he wrote, “the crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous judge will give to me on that day, and not to me only but to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7,8).