The New Testament writers were inspired to use sports analogies on several occasions.
Paul writes about finishing the race in 2 Timothy. This year I ran my first half marathon and I now better understand what Paul’s intentions were when writing this passage.
The first time that you run a distance of 13.1 miles and finish in a time under two hours, you experience several stages of physical discomfort and mental doubt along the way. In preparation I did several shorter distance training runs before the attempt, but actual race day has its own obstacles that can thwart your pace goals.
This is similar to life as we steadily hurdle through our timeline to our final breath. Yet with this current body we only get one shot at the life marathon. Your life marathon training happens along the route, so don’t miss the training stops in the ultra-marathon of life.
In the life marathon we are not trying to finish faster to reach a PR, we are trying to find crowns along the journey. We are collecting treasure that is incorruptible and payable upon first death. Although, earning a crown in this life can bring joy and new energy while we are still in the race, similar to a gel pack in a long run.
During our life marathon we also train our physical bodies in part to help extend the life marathon. Remember the goal is to fulfill God’s purpose for your life which has a base goal of the Great Commission which is to make disciples, baptize them, and teach Jesus’ commands. (Matthew 28:18-20).
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.
2 Timothy 4:7-8 NASB