Friday, June 3, 2011

Run Your Own Race

One of the core rules of track (Track and Field) is that a runner must stay in his own lane. Lanes are helpful in defining an exact path and distance for each run. In the longer sprints, they assure an equal distance as runners round the track. They also ensure safety by preventing trips and tangles that occur when competitors get too close to one another. If you step out of your lane, you are disqualified from the race no matter how fast you may have run.

Three Keys to a Good Race and a Focused Life

Here are three ideas that will help us run responsibly in our own lane and avoid the problems that come when we stray from the race God has given specifically to us.

Understand Your Lane - At the outset of a race, runners are assigned their lanes. Winners focus all their energies on running well within that lane with their eyes on the finish line. We all have clear God-given roles. It may be as a spouse, parent, employee, or worker in ministry. It is important for each of us to accept these roles, understanding our clear biblical responsibility, then embrace that calling each day with a whole heart and a focus on the one who called us - and who will wait for us at the finish line to reward us for the faith and passion with which we ran OUR race.

Focus on Your "Track" -Another key rule of the race is to not look around or glance back at the other runners. Sometimes our assignments seem difficult or mundane. We find interest in someone else's "lane" or decide we do not like they way they are running their race. It's been said, "Curiosity killed the cat."

Distraction and inappropriate curiosity can also impede personal effectiveness in running your race and damage interpersonal harmony on the "track" of family and ministry life. Proverbs 4:25-27 affirms this idea: "Let your eyes look straight ahead, and your eyelids look right before you. Ponder the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established. Do not turn to the right or the left." Proverbs 26:17 offers this wisdom: "He who passes by and meddles in a quarrel not his own is like one who takes a dog by the ears."

If we get too involved in another runner's lane, we can soon find ourselves playing control games in matters that really are not our business at all. Pretty soon the deacon is telling the pastor how to do his job, the employee is trying to run the department across the hall, and the dad is trying to tell the daughter-in-law how to raise her children. Conflict and confusion erupt. Before long, it is hard for anyone to run their own race.

Run Your Own Race - No runner gets the credit or the embarrassment of another competitor's time. Someday when we see Christ, we will give an account first and foremost for our own lives. Christ will not ask us why we did not run like someone else or finish in the same way they did. As 2 Corinthians 5:10 underscores, "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad." Like Paul, each of us must "press on for the prize of the call of the high call of God in Christ Jesus", ready to give an account of our own race.

Facing the Judge at the Finish Line

Perhaps these ideas were crucial in Paul's final words of testimony found in the last letter he wrote. He stated, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing" (2 Timothy 4:6-8).

Clearly, at the end of the race, each of us will give an account to the righteous Judge for how we ran. We should live for that moment with a genuine love for the Lord who waits for us in eternity. I am sure you want to hear His words, "Well done - and well run" as a result of finding your lane and running with focus and passion. I know I do. So let's run with endurance the race set before us - keeping our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith. I'll see you at the finish line.

Except from "Living in Your Own Lanes" e-devotion of Daniel Henderson.
Copyright @ 2011 Daniel Henderson. All rights reserved.

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