“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things…So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.”
1 Corinthians 9:24-27
There is a determination here. A settled choice to run earnestly, decidedly filling our steps with the purpose and knowledge of God.
So often I think we opt to coast through life. We find a course that feels pretty comfortable, and we settle in and take things as they come. We may put forth some effort to pursue righteousness, wanting to live a good life and do something that matters, but then we choose to sit back and float with the current.
But Christ has called us to more. He calls us to a greater life filled with His glory. Our God has purposed our lives to have an impact for His kingdom. He commands us to determine to be holy, as He is holy. To live righteously. To exhibit His character. While it is His Spirit that causes this transformation, cleansing us and purifying our hearts, empowering us to live as He calls us to and producing His character within us, there is a responsibility for us to seek Him. To study His Word. To meditate on His precepts and “incline your heart to the LORD” (Joshua 24:23). We choose Him, we determine to serve Him and fervently run after the prize of knowing and living in Christ, and He unfolds the truth and beauty of His Word and comes in power to make us more like Him, accomplishing His great purposes in and through us.
We do not run aimlessly. We do not coast along. We run to win the prize. We are intently focused on our Lord. Striving to obey. Fighting to maintain love. Guarding our way. Because this is our joy, and the treasure we pursue is well worth the effort.