A Mangaia athlete heads towards the finish line at the Cook Islands Games 2022. 22100301
In life you only get to run once, so run to win. To avoid stumbling and losing your place in the race, don’t look back. You can’t change the past, but you can learn from it, writes Pastor Eric Toleafoa from the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Over the past week or so, I had the
opportunity to catch-up with a few of our medal winners at this year’s Cook
Island Games. In our discussions, they talked about their journey, challenges
and successes. When asked what the secret to their success was. Here’s what
they had to say…
You have got to work hard
Practice, and more practice
You have to make some sacrifices
You have got to be committed
Be the best in your sport
Look after yourself by being fit and healthy
Have faith and believing in yourself
Never give up
Most importantly, have fun
and do your best to finish the race.
For me, these
athletes didn’t become champions when they received their medals, they were already
champions. They had done all the hard work prior to the event. Everything they
did in preparation for the games and their individual sport gave them the edge they
needed. This is how champions are made.
these events there can only be one winner, one champion. Paul says in 1
Corinthians 9:25, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only
one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize” (NIV). In the
Christian race we are all winners. God has given each of us everything we need
to be able to run the race of life successfully.
In Hebrews 12:1-2, the author suggests
three essentials for you to consider if you want to run the Christian race successfully,
guaranteeing a place on the podium every time.
The first important
thing in running the race successfully, is to, “…strip
off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us
What is slowing you down and therefore hindering
your progress. It might be a number of things including your finances, the choices
you make, an attitude issue, your possessions, and even your relationship with
others. Many of us carry the weight and worry of burdens every day. Whatever it
is, that is hindering you from serving the Lord, you ought to let it go.
In life you only get to run once, so run
to win. To avoid stumbling and losing your place in the race, don’t look back.
You can’t change the past, but you can learn from it.
Don’t be anxious about the next lap, just
focus on the next step. If you miss that, you may fall and not get up again.
When the blind man Bartimaeus heard that
Jesus was within reach, he threw off his coat so it wouldn’t trip him up and
ran toward Him. And his faith paid off: “Immediately he received his sight and
followed Jesus” (Mark 10:52 NKJV). You’ll never know how successful you can be
until you get rid of the things that slow you down and eventually trip you up.
Bible describes our journey of life like a race…verse 1b says, “…let us run with endurance the race God has set
How often do you spend time in God’s Word?
You see the instructions on how to navigate your way through life successfully
is found in the word of God. The challenge for each of us is to regularly spend
time in God’s word, so that you may discover for yourself, God’s will, and purpose
for your life.
Though life can be full of challenges, we
are encouraged to run this race with endurance. In other words, don’t give up
too easily on your faith. Too many Christians have given up. They forget the race
is a marathon, and not a sprint.
You need to run the race with determination
to win. Even when there are potholes the idea is not to stay there but to get
yourself out of that situation and then keep moving forward towards the prize. Paul
says in Philippians 3:14 “I press
on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me
heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (NIV)
The third component,
to being the kind of champion God intended for you to be, is found in Hebrews
12:2 Paul says… “We do
this by keeping our eyes on Jesus…” The question is where is your focus? And are
your eyes set on Jesus “…the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.
Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame.
Now he is seated in the place of honour beside God’s throne.”
When you put him first and foremost, in
everything that you do, you will not only receive the blessings he has for you,
but you will also become a blessing to everyone around you.
The secret to being a Christian champion
is, firstly, letting go of everything that hinders your journey, secondly, run
the race with endurance. Remember the race you are on is a marathon and not a
sprint, and lastly, is to keep your eyes on the prize and live life as a child
In God’s hall of fame, according to Hebrews 12:1a are
names of, “…a huge crowd of
witnesses to the life of faith…” (names found in Heb 11). These are men and
women just like you and I who have been on this journey … they also had to discover
the secret to being a Christian champion. And, so if they ran and were able to
finish the race with God’s help, you can rest assure, as you run the race of
life faithfully, that God will have your back too!
Enjoy the journey, stay blessed, but most
of all be encouraged!