Run Your Own Race
Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. First Corinthians 9:24
When we constantly measure ourselves by the success and failures of others, we run the risk of losing our identity. When we feel insecure we try to copy those who look successful and we criticize those who mess up. Our goal is to be -and stay- one up on everybody else. Of course this way of living forces us to be on guard all the time. We can’t afford to let any body look better than we do. We live in fear that somebody will find out that we aren’t as “put together“ as we want them to think, and our relationship suffer. We smile on the outside, but we’re worried sick. Some of us have lived in this way so long that we don’t even realize there’s another way to live.
When we meet Jesus face to face he’s not going to ask us if we were as successful as somebody else. He’s going to ask only whether we did what he asked us to do and the way that he wanted us to do it. Each of us has our own race to run, and we need to devote our energies to running that race – and only that race – as well as we possibly can.
When you realize you’re comparing yourself to others, either positively or negatively, remember that you are responsible to run your own race, not someone else’s,. Running your own race is doing the best you can every chance you get with what you have for a purpose that outlives you.
“Winners evaluate them self in a positive manner and look for their strengths as they work to overcome weaknesses.“
The person who seeks and finds God’s purpose for their lives is truly blessed for that purpose drives every decision. It doesn’t mean that carrying out the purpose of God isn’t always easy nor popular and there will always be those who will try to talk you into doing something different. There is nothing more futile than trying to be like somebody else. After all, if God had wanted you to be something other than who you are, He would have made it so. Running our own race is trusting that God has a plan and purpose that is uniquely ours.
In Jeremiah we read of a conversation between God and Jeremiah when He was calling Jeremiah to be a prophet to Israel.
“Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you [and approved of you as My chosen instrument], And before you were born I consecrated you [to Myself as My own]; I have appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, For I am [only] a young man.” But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am [only] a young man,’ Because everywhere I send you, you shall go, And whatever I command you, you shall speak. “Do not be afraid of them [or their hostile faces], For I am with you [always] to protect you and deliver you,” says the Lord. Then the Lord stretched out His hand and touched my mouth, and the Lord said to me, “Behold (hear Me), I have put My words in your mouth. “See, I have appointed you this day over the nations and over the kingdoms, To uproot and break down, To destroy and to overthrow, To build and to plant.”
Are you listening for God to speak over your life? Or are you listening to those around you who are trying to speak into your life? There’s a vast difference many times between how God sees you and how you are seen by others. In the conversation, God calls Jeremiah His “chosen instrument” who was “consecrated as My own” even before he was born. Jeremiah’s view was quite different. He saw himself in comparison to others. What he saw was a timid youth, perhaps because that’s what everyone else told him he was. Maybe when he looked at others he measured himself by them or tried to be like them. But if we spend our time trying to be like others we have no time left to be ourselves. God speaks again to Jeremiah
and says, “Don’t see yourself the way you think others see you. Here’s what I made you to be and to assure that you become what I’m making you to be, everywhere you go that I send you, I’ll go with you.” So God took a young man and started him running his own race and that race brought him to stand before kings and great leaders as God’s spokesman.
If we could ever grasp the potential that running our own race could bring about, we would cease to compare ourselves to others. Instead we would seek the approval of our Creator and that isn’t hard to find once we learn to run the race the He has given us to run rather than being pressured into running someone else’s race.
Hebrews says that we are to run the race set before us with patience, looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith.
One day we will look back over our lives and those who have chosen to run the race that God has given them to run will hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” That’s a goal worth striving for.
Finally, we take hope and courage to know that our Savior chose to run the race the Father gave Him to run in spite of objections from His closest friends and followers. And though running that race had moments of suffering, we read that He set an example for us to follow:
“[looking away from all that will distract us and] focusing our eyes on Jesus, who is the Author and Perfecter of faith [the first incentive for our belief and the One who brings our faith to maturity], who for the joy [of accomplishing the goal] set before Him endured the cross, disregarding the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God [revealing His deity, His authority, and the completion of His work].”
So let us run our own race, not looking around at others but looking unto Jesus waiting for us at the finish line. There will always be distractions. There will always be things to draw us off on an exit. There will always be those who run past us and those who run behind us and neither of the two should affect how we run. Only the runner who stays focused on the race before him will run successfully.
Dr. John Thompson