There are at least four different references by the Apostle Paul of running in a race. In each one of those passages there are four things that stand out. He talks about "...finishing the race with joy." Then he reminds us that we run the race, ".... to obtain a prize." Next Paul exhorts us that in the midst of the race we need to be able to say, "...I have kept the faith." And lastly, we need to, "...run with endurance the race that is set before us." anyone who has ever done any long distance running knows that they become a slave to the clock. What do I mean by that statement, simply that we have to learn to pace our selves inorder to finish the race. We have to pace our selves in the race of life making sure that the ultimate goal is to finish first in Christ. The old bumper sticker, "He who finishes with the most toys wins!" is a reminder of the worldly ideal that most people aim for. Yet, we are reminded to, "...lay aside every weight, and sin that so easily ensnares us." Make sure you pace yourself to win the ultimate prize! 1Co 9:24 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.
Ac 20:24 “But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.
2Ti 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
Heb 12:1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
"Faith and works should travel side by side, step answering to step, like the legs of men walking. First faith, and then works; and then faith again, and then works again -- until they can scarcely distinguish which is the one and which is the other." William Booth in The Founder's Messages to Soldiers, Christianity Today, October 5, 1992, p. 48.
I think William Booth had it right, step by step our faith produces the works of righteousness and obedience. James understood that faith without works is dead (non-productive). When I talk about faith I should be walking in faith. Faith is more than a theological concept, it is the very out-working of my salvation which was so lovingly provided for me through the finished work of Christ on the Cross.
Paul reminds us that our faith, though purchased by Christ, can't be bought or purchased by us, ".......it is the free gift of God." (Ephesians 2:8-9) So, in this age of reality shows and emotionalism, let us live in the present power of the Holy Spirit so our faith in God through His Son Jesus Christ might be our true reality.