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On your mark. Get set. Go.

We, who are familiar with these track-and-field sports commands, know that after they are spoken a race will begin. In that race, we know that there will be many lanes of competitors, and that every lane’s runner will be expecting to be the first-place winner—expecting to be the one who gets the prize. If the other runners do not finish first, we also know that they are hoping to at least finish in second or third place.

Now, let us consider how the Apostle Paul uses the track-and-field metaphor in the Scripture below. He compares believers to long-distance runners. His purpose is to encourage believers to continue to run the race that doesn’t end until the moment they are standing before Jesus the Christ in anticipation of their eternal-life rewards. Figuratively speaking, the Apostle Paul is asking believers to pursue a spiritual life with God like the Olympics’ long-distance runners pursue the first-place trophy or gold medal, because these athletes put their ALL into preparing for and running in their race, including ceaselessly hoping that they will be the one who is crowned “the winner.”

Let us, therefore, count our journey worthy of receiving the end result, which is the eternal home that Jesus the Christ has prepared for us. In our eternity with our Lord, we will receive our mansions, and our mansions will be located in the holy city. The main street in the holy city will be transparent gold, and there will be a crystal clear, pure river of life running through the holy city. On either side of this river of life will be the tree of life that monthly will bear fresh crops of twelve different fruits. Around this holy city  will be a wall that has a twelve-layered foundation that is bedecked with twelve different precious gems, and this wall also will have twelve pearl-studded gates.

Thus, it is apparent that the rewards we will receive for pursuing a Holy Spirit-filled life will be great, over and above receiving an eternal life with God, or the crowns and robes we will wear. However, even if we received nothing more than our spiritual life with God, this prize is more than enough to encourage us to run the race set before us so that we might become the winners/recipients of this promised reward.

On your mark. Get set. Go. AMEN.

“Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain” (1 Corinthians 9:24, KJV; cf. Hebrews 12:1).