The Race that is Set Before Us

Article by: Bridgehaven Team

You could argue that the biblical story is about three locations. The garden in Genesis was a location of perfection and beauty but became a place of sin and trouble. The hill of Calvary was a place of both horrible suffering and transforming grace. And the New Jerusalem, that place of peace and refuge lit by the brightness of the Son, will be our final refuge forever. (Paul David Tripp, Dangerous Calling, p. 109)

When running long distances competitively, it makes sense to emphasize the physical fitness component required to race. But when listening to those participating in marathons, repeatedly you hear the importance of mental toughness. These athletes have to learn how to outwit their own mind regarding pace, exhaustion, and pain.

The Scriptures use similar ‘race’ language to describe the Christian life. This idea of process, one with beginning and end, provides purpose and direction to our journey of life. Conversely, the trials, sufferings, and hardships of life are portrayed in the Scriptures through ‘wilderness’ language. A wilderness connotes one being lost and wandering aimlessly.

The value of orientation when on a journey is vital in that mental battle while running a long race. We do this without even knowing it. We are constantly calculating how far we have already run, and how much farther to go until the finish line. We are constantly assessing our progression, and evaluating our status in relation to how far we have run and how far we have left to run.

The parallel fits nicely, when running the race of the Christian life, especially in ministry leadership; it is crucial for us to gauge our lives in light of creation and restoration. Creation and restoration provide brackets, not only for our lives, but for redemptive history, placing God as the primary agent. This releases us from the debt of our faulty performance, but also gives a richness and depth to our lives, which are embedded amongst a cloud of witnesses.

For us to run the race with passion and cunning, we must remember God’s good design for our world and His people. Only with this creational starting line, can we have right perspective for our marathon, and stay on course. But we must also, know that the renewal of creation, life after life after death is the finish line we strive towards. A place where heaven and earth meet in full redemption, and God will dwell among us. On this end, we set our sights. And because Christ has gone before us, we are able to endure the race that is set before us, knowing God has set the course for our redemption within a larger, grander narrative.