Victory Requires You Run the Race

We Never Run the Race Alone when We Train Daily with the Master.

A good name is better than fine perfume, and the day of one’s death than the day of one’s birth. It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, since that is the end of all mankind, and the living should take it to heart. Grief is better than laughter, for when a face is sad, a heart may be glad. The heart of the wise is in a house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in a house of pleasure. Eccl 7:1-4 (HCSB)

Being told you have a lot of promise to run the race doesn’t make it so. Being told you come from a great family does guarantee victory in the race either. Until we have competed in life and put forth the effort, we have not earned the right to claim honor for our name, nor the victory for a race we have not run.

Success and fame are not something you can claim – they must be earned and are received. Success and fame arrive after the crown has been placed upon you by those you have impacted and gained favor from during the race of life because no one attains success or fame while still at the start line of the race. What accomplishment can you claim before the race has even begun? You may certainly look good in your fancy track shoes and your uniform may make you look like a winner, but it is in the running of the race that earns the accolades once you cross the finish line.

The Teacher in this passage clearly makes the point that one’s lifetime of achievements become worth remembering after the results of the race are posted, and thus far more valuable and rewarding than the applause and back-slapping during the race.

I have been a part of many funerals that have turned into a celebration of memories, a genuine testimony of a person’s positive impact on the lives of others. From another perspective, how sad would it be if no one attended your funeral? The tragedy in the Christmas Carol story is that Ebeneezer Scrooge gets to foresee that without a change in his miserly, lonely ways, no one will mourn his death. No one will miss him after he is gone except as the brunt of jokes and ridicule. What a legacy of a life wasted on selfish ambition and values that took from others and never shared with others. Scrooge became too enamored by his own idea of success and fame, he forgot to even compete in the race. He never lined up at the starting line. He chose only to compete with himself.

Consider which stage of the race you are running in this lifetime? Remember, the race of life is a marathon, not a sprint. In fact, the course to run may not be clearly marked, but there will be plenty of others running the course with you. At every crossroad during the race, your life can be affected for good or for bad by the choices you make, so choose wisely. Just remember, there’s never a shortcut to the finish line. A moment to consult God’s will, ways and wisdom is always a good investment to avoid disastrous, hasty choices. And, never trust the crowd to always choose wisely either, because most often the crowd are like sheep and follow the herd, only to learn they have blindly been drawn down the hazardous and dangerous path at the crossroads.

Run the race that is set before you, knowing someone who loves you more than anyone is standing at the finish line, calling you by name, urging you to not quit and finish strong. He knows the way because he has run the race and knows the challenges and obstacles you will face along the way. But, he also knows the reward at the end! There’s the roar of all who finished the race before you encouraging you toward the finish line. Do not give up or give in, because eternal success and fame adorn the crown waiting for you.

For those, like myself, who are still running their race, there is plenty of encouragement along the journey. You will be encouraged and rewarded by those you have helped along the way as well. Run the race set before you and seek along the way to celebrate life with friends and family until you break the finish line.


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Words of Wisdom #236-20EC

When the Captive Becomes the Victor












When the Captive Becomes the Victor

For the Lord will have compassion on Jacob and will choose Israel again. He will settle them on their own land. The foreigner will join them and be united with the house of Jacob. The nations will escort Israel and bring it to its homeland. Then the house of Israel will possess them as male and female slaves in the Lord’s land. They will make captives of their captors and will rule over their oppressors. Isaiah 14:1-2 (HCSB)

How do we interpret this passage? It sounds like revenge exacted upon our enemies? Yet, if we examine the Christian aspect we will see this in a different light. It is a promise that our enemies will be just like us, and they too will be received with open arms into God’s family. All will be freed from their bonds caused by selfish living, and become captive to the new life found by surrendering to the Lord’s will, way and wisdom.

“Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” 2 Cor 3:17 (HCSB)

Even when we seek to turn our lives over to God’s will, ways, and wisdom does not mean we do not have freedom. Quite the contrary, we finally understand genuine freedom is found by surrendering to the Lord. His loving kindness frees us from all the aspects and influences of living life solely for the benefit of “self!” Avarice, envy, greed, haughtiness, arrogance and any other attitudes that has overshadowed our lives and kept us separated from the Lord are swept away — their hold upon us is torn away. A new overriding influence upon our life has come upon us once we surrender — the Spirit of God, filling the void in our heart and soothing our weary soul. We no longer will struggle to fill the void in our life through all the wrong means. We can discover the satisfaction never before realized by our own efforts.

In the days of Isaiah, those who were strangers to the Lord and enemies of his people discovered the Lord’s loving-kindness through the witness of his people as they faced the trials and tribulations that they were called to endure. Pagan kings and their people learned about the Lord’s lovingkindness through the testimonies of God’s people who were living in their lands. They became compelled to allow them to return to Judah and rebuild Jerusalem. The captors became the captives as they likewise became willing servants seeking the Lord’s will, ways, and wisdom, just as all of the Lord’s people had already done. By humbling themselves from being the captor to the captive, they became the real victors and no longer victims, as many previously believed.

How would you evaluate your own life? Are you feeling like the victim or the victor? Are you wishing you were the captor or the captive? Do you understand that as the servant to the Lord you are the captive, yet the victor! Think about it. It is not about winning and losing, but overcoming to become what God has intended for you. What better way could you explain what it means to be saved?