Running From Victory, Not For Victory
As I watched the Olympics last month, I was intrigued by the sheer motivation many athletes found in striving for a gold medal. Whether swimming or running, wrestling or volleyball, gymnastics or tennis, when the medals were in view, the opportunity to win the gold often spurred them on to an incredible performance, many times even a new Olympic or world record. There’s something about “running for a victory” (my generic phrase for competing) that is compellingly motivating.
Except for the Christian. Frankly, we don’t run for victory at all. We run from it.
What do I mean? Well, I don’t mean we run away from it; that would be silly. I mean we run because of it. In other words, we don’t run this spiritual race to achieve a victory. We run this spiritual race because we have already received a victory—Christ’s!
This is the essence of the exhortation in Hebrews 12:1-2, where we are commanded to “run with endurance the race that is set before us.” But we don’t run this race in this way to win something; we run this race in this way because Jesus already won something—victory over sin, death, hell, and the grave. He has already conquered the enemy! That’s why verse 2 closes with the undeniable reality that Jesus “is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
That’s right, brother or sister, Jesus has already won our victory at the cross. And so we run. And, most assuredly, we run with all our might. In no uncertain terms we run with discipline and diligence (1 Cor 9:24-27). But our motivation to run this spiritual race is not rooted in something we hope to earn in the future. Our running is rooted in what has already occurred in the past—Jesus’ victory at Calvary! We don’t run for a victory; we run from one.
May you today think about Christ’s victorious work at the cross and the grave and consequently find new resolve and strength to run like you’ve never run before. Patiently. Perseveringly. Productively. Powerfully. May your spiritual running be supernaturally propelled, not because you’re looking at what you will get when you finish, but rather because you’re remembering what Christ won when he said, “It is finished.”
That’s why we run. And that’s how we run. Not for victory, but from it.