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It is all about winning, not just taking part

Surely you know that many runners take part in a race, but only one of them wins the prize. Run, then, in such a way as to win the prize. Every athlete in training submits to strict discipline, in order to be crowned with a wreath that will not last; but we do it for one that will last for ever. That is why I run straight for the finishing line; that is why I am like a boxer who does not waste his punches. I harden my body with blows and bring it under complete control, to keep myself from being disqualified after having called others to the contest.

1 Corinthians 9 : 24 - 27 (GNB)

I am sure at one point or another you have heard someone say to you, or you have said to someone else "It's not the winning that matters, itÂ’s the taking part...". Comforting as this might sound, and undoubtedly was said with the best of intentions, as we see in our passage this week this is completely wrong.

As Christians we should not be going about life thinking, "I will settle with just taking part", or worse still try and avoid competition altogether. This passage isn't really about athleticism or about winning or losing. It is about passion and drive, in most cases winners don't get to where they are by luck or accident. Behind every win there is a shed load of effort, training and preparation. This behind the scenes work is just as important a factor as the win itself.

Recently my colleagues and I have been practising for a race later on in the year, and as part of this we have started competing against each other to get the best time. Although I am nowhere near as fast as some of my colleagues having a goal is a great source of motivation. I think this sort of drive and healthy competition is being encouraged in our passage, and we should try and use this sort of motivation in all areas of our life.

Although there is a heavy focus on sport in our thought this week, this passage has far wider meaning. Like a lot of scripture this is metaphor, or illustration showing how we should live our lives generally, not just on the racetrack.

This week change your mind-set towards races in your life (whether these be real races, or just metaphorical ones). Don't just settle for taking part, strive for the top spot... the best you can be... as second place is just the first loser. Have a great week.

This week's song is Your Promises by Elevation Worship.

Header image by: Philo Nordlund via Flickr