I have been a fan of motorsports all my life and I have heard this phrase often repeated “race your own race”. What this means is to worry about executing the best driving line lap after lap and not worry about what the competition is doing. When you begin to worry about the competition you start trying to make small adjustments and you begin to lose a little time here and a little time there. As the competition closes in you begin to make even more adjustments and next thing you know you are losing even more time. You have allowed the competition to take you out of your rhythm on the track. Soon your competition overtakes you and victory slips away.
I see this happening in the Christian life as well. The Bible compares our lives to running a race:
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. (1 Corinthians 9:24 ESV)
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth 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 ESV)
I have seen Christians take their eye off the prize and start worrying about their competition lately. Just like in motorsports when we start worrying about what the competition is doing we begin to lose focus on our own race. Whether it be a Supreme Court decision, a political point of view, or Bruce Jenner’s personal life many Christians have begun to focus on tactics that will never win the race. I see hateful arguments where Christians attempt to somehow demean others into believing in God but only hurt their own testimonies.
We need to concentrate on running our race despite the distractions around us. We are very tempted to use the same tactics that the world uses in order to have our voices heard. While we have a very important message to share with the world it matters how we go about sharing it.
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. (James 1:27 ESV)
Unfortunately we have become “stained” by the politics and methods of the world around us. We are known for the things we are against instead of emulating the actions of Jesus. One of the hardest concepts in running this race called life is that we are called to love our enemies, in other words we are to care deeply about those we are competing against. Whether it is an Islamic radical or gender switching athlete we are commanded to love them. It seems counter intuitive to love those who are against us but it is the only way that we will ever win the race set before us.