Here the Christian life is here likened unto a race and we need to make a personal application. Each of us have a “race that is set before us“. We are not at liberty to just run as we please. While some things are the same for all God has a specific plan for each of us. We see that best in 1 Cor. 12 where the church is likened to a body with each member a part. God doesn’t use us all the same way, but He has a plan for each of us.
Using the figure of a race we each have a certain lane or course assigned to us. It’s not enough to just run, we must run where God assigns us–otherwise it isn’t lawful. For example, God has called many to preach, but He hasn’t called all preachers to be pastors. Not only that, not all pastors are called to the same place. I could preach anywhere, but I would not be discharging my duty unless I pastor in the place God “set before” me. In my case that is Lakeway Baptist Church in Humble, TX. For me that is the most important position on earth. That is my “holy ground”!
Even so each of us should run the race “set before us“. We have no right to do otherwise. Just joining a church isn’t enough. We must be in the church God has appointed for us and doing the work He has assigned for us. He has given “to every man his work” (Mark 13:34) and we are neither successful nor safe unless we do it. Many spend their life involved in religious activities, but they are off track. All their effort is in vain because it is not according to God’s plan. They are running toward the wrong goal.
Notice that there is no mention of winning in our text. Whether we win or not doesn’t depend on what anybody else does–we’re not in competition with others. Success is determined by how well we run the “race that is set before us“. To win we must run fervently and faithfully to the finish.–HDS