This verse likens the Christian life to a race. I can’t speak for anyone else but the thought of running doesn’t sound appealing to me. While I always enjoyed sports I never enjoyed running. It seems unnatural to me. I would rather walk. In other words, running is not something I would choose for myself. Yet, as a Christian, there is a race “set before” me and I commanded to “run“.
As Christians God has a prescribed course for each of us and it’s our duty to “run“. Because of who we are and what God has planned none of have the right to do as we please. Duty compels us to “run” rather than walk, jog, or sit on the sidelines. The nonsense of those who teach that we shouldn’t spend our lives doing things we don’t enjoy has no place in the believer’s life. God demands that we deny ourselves and do our duty, regardless of its difficulty. God never said it would or should be fun and easy. Paul discusses the difficulties of the disciples life in 1 Cor. 9:24-27 and there is no reason for us to expect it to be easier for us than it was for Paul.
The Greek word for “race” (agon) is the word from which we get the word “agony”. It speaks of that which is grueling, agonizing, and exhausting. Although compared to a contest, the Christian life is no game. This analogy is used only to show us what great effort we should put into it. It is also likened unto warfare– implying conflict, battle, and struggle. The fight is fierce, the enemy is strong, the flesh is weak, and the stakes are high. Thought weak, wounded and weary we must not quit. We must press on with all our might until we cross the finish line. Your flesh will resent it and your foes will resist it, but we must keep on. The goods news is that we don’t have to depend on our own strength to run this race. As Paul said, “ I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”–Phil. 4:13. — HDS, 10/24/16