In my previous posting, I mentioned that there are four things that can rob us of victory. We must pay attention to the following because whatever we do with them will determine whether we will win or lose:
1. Registration (Enrolment):
Who knows? Though we have the names of people who are the world champions in various events, there is somebody somewhere who might have done even better but he never registered for the race. Some people don’t even know that there is a world platform out there that they could climb if they registered. In the same way, there are people out there (and, probably, in here) who have not registered with Christ for the race of life. They don’t even know that there is an eternal platform awaiting them if they enrol. Or, if they do, they fear the “rigorous training” that accompanies such commitments. These people lose because they never even started a race that they could win.
There are people that may do well to register but fail to train adequately. The result is that the “opponent” would catch up with them.
3. The Actual Running:
After the registration and the training, there is the actual running. Even after entering the race and training well, we must be careful when it comes to the actual running. We might, like the case of Gwen, lose concentration on the track thereby flouting the rules. Even if we are keen enough not to flout the rules, we have to “keep the pace” and aim at the record.
4. Finishing the Race:
And, finally, there must be the determination to cross the finishing line. Even if one has kept or set the pace, being ahead of everyone must not result into “laxity”. Being ahead, in the spiritual matters, may mean doing so well until a person becomes either proud or complacent. What laxity does to an athlete, complacency does to a servant of God.
Finishing the race of our faith means guarding against complacency that results from our “achievements”. We must not forget that there is a record that will always beg to be broken. I explained earlier that the standards of God are infinitely high. This means that the record will always stand in our face. Even in athletics, after a record has been broken, it will not be the end. A new record shall have been set and a need to break it will be the new challenge for the competitors. It doesn’t end. This is why the Bible exhorts us to pursue an ever increasing virtue:
"… make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."
—2 Peter 1:5-8 (NIV. Italics: author’s emphasis).
The idea is that we must posses the qualities but it doesn’t end there, we increase them.