No this is not a saying about putting God, people, then myself – the widely known “I’m second” or “I’m third” sayings. The fact that I say I’m fourth not only hints that I was the baby, the last born, of a set of quadruplet siblings, but it also speaks to my unique place in this world. Paul talks about his life being a race. He says in 1 Timothy 4:7, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
If Paul talks about his life being compared to a race, then he is definitely encouraging us to think the same. In 1 Corinthians 9:24 Paul says, “Do you not know that those in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.” He continues in this description to encourage self-discipline, determination and practiced integrity that will aid those who want to receive the prize.
This depiction of a race is more about our personal race in our relationship with Christ. So compared to everyone around you, does it really matter what place you get? I like to think not. Each and every one of our lives is unique and set apart!
David explains this well in Psalm 139:13-14 saying, “For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well.”
God molded our personalities, desires, body types and natural inclinations before we were even born! He laid out a path for each and every one of us before we even opened our eyes. How cool is it to think that the God of the universe, who created everything, decided to be so intimately involved with you and with me. Every fiber of our being was woven in God’s hands – AKA we are set apart! Our life is precious and unique and worthy to be lived and enjoyed and blessed.
Just because God designed it doesn’t mean it will be an easy life though. True realization comes when we are aware of the world we live in. We live in a dark, perverse world that is run by the prince of lies, the devil. Yet, God has not only called us to be a light in the world, but He has provided all the resources we need to defeat the darkness.
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;” –1 Peter 2:9
“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.” –2 Corinthians 10:4
“For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.” –2 Corinthians 4:6
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” –Romans 8:37-39
Jesus is our savior, the solution and key to living in this world while not being a part of it. Jesus is the ultimate goal to strive for in our life race. And like I mentioned earlier, our lives will each have a unique race towards the finish line where Jesus is. You can be seventh, second, tenth, 38th, whatever position in life as long as we are in the race. As long as we are actively competing, striving to live a righteous life for the glory of Christ, then nothing else matters. Your position in the race doesn’t matter!
Sometimes, or a lot of times, we take breaks from the race, or take different paths that we think would be better, routes that end up being a lot harder than the original trail. As long as we finally take our eyes off of our own feet and the few yards ahead and place them on the finish line where Jesus is, then we will finish the race.
The race doesn’t get easier either. 1 Corinthians 4:16-18 says, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
Our goal, our race in life, has eternal consequences. It depends on how we want to view our race. Every life is different, positions in the race are different, but if we choose to strive towards the finish line, receiving God’s grace, accepting and using His wisdom, strength, and guidance of His Spirit, then we will run the race well.
Your life is unique and set apart. Jesus is at the finish line.