We come to the closing weeks of another racing season. In the pressure of achieving our goals we can lose focus on the things that matter. Sometimes we don’t respond in a way that honors God. We need to remember, even in the heat of the moment, that we belong to God. We need to remember that we need to reflect his character not ours. We need to finish well. Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
One of the most challenging things to do in racing is to keep your composure when everything around you is going crazy. Learning how to do that is difficult. It requires that we endure situations that test us and strain us. But when we develop that composure we go a long way toward responding in a way that honors God.
What does it take to win a race? We have many thoughts but are they valid? You need a fast car, but the fastest car doesn’t always win. You need a car that can get out front and lead, but the car that leads the most laps doesn’t always win the race. You need the skills and talent to drive a racecar, but the most skilled driver doesn’t always win. Surely a skilled team that can make the necessary changes during the race would win, but the best team doesn’t always win. Well as you can see it is difficult to put your finger on the necessary ingredients to win. They are all needed at some point but the right formula can be elusive.
What does it take to win? I guess that depends on the race you are running.
To run a race at the track we need all the things mentioned above, we need them to come together on race day but that doesn’t guarantee victory. We need to run the race. We also need to finish the race. Things will happen as we run the race that will have a significant impact on the outcome. If we don’t finish we can never win.
Running the race properly involves responding to situations in a way that honors God. If we do not handle ourselves correctly we will not finish the race. How should we run to ensure we will finish? Listen to what Paul writes.
1Corinthians 9:24-27, Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
I am reminded of the story of David and Goliath. If we look at the two competitors the race was over before it began. On one side we have the giant Goliath, an experienced fighter and intimidating. On the other side we have a Shepherd boy with no armor, just his sling and staff. There was however something that tipped the scales in David’s favor; God. Goliath fought with his own strength and power. David fought not only with his strength and skill, but also with the blessing of God. You see, to run the race in a way as which to win, you must race within the will of God.
Paul points out three things that are important. God blesses us when we follow His direction. When we choose to take things on with our own strength and understanding we are not running in a way as which to win.
Don’t run aimlessly. In order to finish the race we must know where the finish line is and the way to get there. God provides a direction for us. Seek Him out and follow His guidance. He is the best crew chief going.
Don’t fight against things that are not there. Too many times we spend our energy worrying about things that haven’t even happened. We get anxious and try to predict the future, don’t get caught up chasing the shadows of things that are not there. Deal with what is real and use the wisdom and strength of God.
Don’t be disqualified. We can reason our way out of doing the things that are right. We find excuses to justify the choices we make. We cannot let ourselves give in to our selfish desires, but instead we must do what is right. We can justify anything we do with many reasons, but that doesn’t make it right. We must do what is right in the eyes of God.
Paul adds that there is a way to respond that honors God. We need to reflect the character of God when we run the race. Only then can we have victory when we finish the race.
Ephesians 4:1a-3, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
Humility, gentleness, patience, and self-control don’t seem like traits of winners, but I contend that we will win so much more if we display that character than we ever imagined. Reflecting the qualities of God will produce a desired result that is satisfying and fulfilling. Not only for us but for those around us.
Many times we race against competitors who are full of themselves. They strut around like they are so great. They are full of pride and arrogance. I am here to tell you if you get drawn into that thought process you will never experience the joy of victory. Don’t get me wrong you can still be competitive and a tenacious combatant and still honor God. The secret is not to think more of yourself than you ought to. Look at David and how he was able to be victorious over Goliath.
Goliath laughed at him when he walked on the battlefield. Goliath insulted him and the nation he represented. Goliath didn’t take him seriously. David wasn’t defeated by the arrogance of Goliath. He placed a rock in his sling and flung one stone striking Goliath in the forehead and killing him.
We need to remember what we have been called to and run the race in a way that will honor God. We will not wilt when the circumstances seem to be overwhelming, when the pressure seems too much. Whatever we do will prosper, we will taste victory. Look forward to experiencing God’s blessings. Run in such a way as to win! Finish with the blessing of God.
Until next time, remember God loves you and Jesus is Lord over Auto Racing! God Bless. Remember, that your prayerful support and donations helps us continue this ministry. Thank You.