Pounding heart, sweating palms, racing pulse—all indicators of a true competition. The only question at this point is who will win and how they will win. I do not like to lose, but what can a person do? By far, I have found myself in the loser’s pit more often than the winner’s circle.
It’s amazing to me how often I see competition rear up in situations around me. I was a passenger in a car a few nights ago and every time we approached a stop light, the driver said, “Alright, I’m going to beat the car in the other lane and move in and cut them off.” I laughed on the inside thinking that his intentions were rather childish…someone his age needing to beat the car in the other lane? Finally, I questioned why he had this urge to win. His reply was interesting. He smiled and said, “Well, I guess it’s for the same reason you wanted to beat me down the bypass last Friday night.” Ouch! He was right. We both pulled out and headed down the road. However, he was in a sports car and I was in a crossover. Every bone in my body wanted to beat him down that road and go just enough faster than him to call myself the winner.
If I’m really into a competition—water baseball with my nieces and nephews, music trivia with a friend, holiday word searches, I do not allow anything to cloud my vision. I’m focused…fixed…fascinated. This makes me pause to think about how competitively ambitious I am when it comes to living the Christian life. How passionately do I embrace Hebrews 12:1b?
“…let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”
I am quick to make excuses when it comes to giving up my desires and plunging into service and ministry head-first. I allow the demons of worry, low self-esteem, and fear of failure to weigh me down and render me completely ineffective. Sins become larger than me and I fall victim to the swallowing shadow. In these instances, I’m not running toward something, I’m running away from something. It’s obvious that I do not have the hunger or the willpower to win.
There is no better race to run than the one which the Lord has set before me. It is His race which builds character and integrity in the believer. It is His race which sets the soul on fire. It is His race which encourages love, forgiveness, and understanding. It is His race which eliminates the demons and sin which battle to destroy me. It is His race which offers the greatest prize of all—eternal security.