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Winning the prize

What things do we need to do as we run our Christian race? asks Ayoola Bandele

I am not competitive. In fact, I don't have the desire to compete in any race. I just want to go about my daily business and cling to the grace of God to carry me through each day.

However, as I watched the recently concluded World’s Athletics Championships with great interest and intensity, I have come away challenged about my Christian race. I have come away clinging to a new mission to run my race in the right direction and for the purpose of fulfilling kingdom destiny. I want to run the race so that I, too, can win the prize set before me.

There’s such a great deal to learn from the World’s Athletics Championship race and that which can be compared with the Christian race. In all its glory, it has some lessons learnt that I have adapted as steps to winning the top prize, and these can be used as reminders or guidance on the Christian journey. 

Although our race is not physical but spiritual, we must be intentional to run our journey with a prize in mind, for the Bible says: Those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize” (1 Corinthians 9:24). Only one person can win the race. Only one person can take the top prize home. Only one person claimed the World’s Championship title in their categories, and in the Christian world, Jesus is the only person who has ever won, still winning and will forever win the race.

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Jesus Christ is the Saviour of the world, who shed His blood for sinners so that we can all be saved (Romans 5:9). He is the only top winner who is also calling us all to join Him in winning the world for the heavenly prize. Jesus Christ fought the battle against sin and won the race for us all. 

He shed His blood for all sinners so that we can all be saved (Romans 10:9 – 10), and unlike the world’s entry process into the race, we have Jesus to thank for the battle He has won for us. We no longer need to engage ourselves in any form of battle to be saved (Acts 16:30 – 31), be delivered (Psalm 34:4), adopted into God’s kingdom (Ephesians 1:5), and to enter into the kingdom of God (Matthew 7:21 – 23); we need only to believe in Jesus Christ and confess that He is, indeed, Lord (Romans 10:9).

Jesus has broken the ground for us, and He has done the major work. However, there are things we need to consider and continue to do until He calls us home:

  1. We need to work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12). If the athletes do not keep to schedules and regulations of the competition, they would not have qualified for the finals. 
  2. We need to be focused on our Christian race. Only those athletes who ran the race with great focus and undivided attention won the race (Philippians 3:14).
  3. We need to run our race with endurance. When we are tired or when we have suffered an injustice or an injury, we ought to remember Christ’s suffering and we ought to take solace in His suffering (Hebrews 12:1).
  4. We must discipline our body and keep it under control, for our body is God’s temple (1 Corinthians 9:27; 1 Corinthians 6:19).
  5. And, finally, we must forget the past and press on towards the goal set before us (Philippians 3:13), knowing that God can give you the grace to win this race.

I hope that when our journey on earth has ended and we go home to be with our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, we will not be shocked that we made it but we will be happy to join the 24 elders and angels singing halleluyah, hossanna to the highest (Revelation 4:10).

Photo by Ariel Besagar

About the author

Ayoola joined the Evangelical Alliance in June 2019. Having previously worked within the retail and IT sector, her current role now involves IT strategy, HR, governance and compliance, event management for the council and working groups, and administering trust funds.

Ayoola is passionate about helping people engage with the Bible, the power of prayer and regularly writes on daily Bible declarations, a website which supports spiritual growth of Christians worldwide.

Ayoola holds a BSc in Statistics, an executive ILM certificate and has a background in the media industry including journalism, radio presenting and creative writing.

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