Philippians 3:13-14 NIV
13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV
18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
THE ANALOGY OF A RACE
Paul used the analogy of a race when talking about our spiritual life.
Expanding on this analogy, it is not a sprint, but rather a marathon. A marathon that requires endurance and perseverance. A marathon that requires focus and determination. A marathon that requires the help of the Holy Spirit.
As we live and grow spiritually, we naturally get closer to the prize that awaits us.
Let us look further at Paul’s analogy of running a race.
If you have ever been on a runner on a track team, you will remember being taught to never look behind you, or to your side. Distractions become obstacles.
This is why they put “blinders” on horses. These prevent the horse from seeing to the rear or to the side. The purpose is to keep the horse looking forward and staying on track. They keep the horse from getting distracted or scared by something.
Now, we’d look pretty silly running around with physical blinders on and would certainly garner many strange looks.
The point is that we must keep our eyes focused straight ahead, not concerned with who or what is going on beside or behind us.
Obstacles come into view when we take our eyes off of Jesus. Like the horse, looking straight ahead keeps us from getting distracted or fearful.
Besides the possibility of getting distracted or fearful, if you have ever been a runner, you know that turning to look beside and behind you while running the race, only slows you down.
HOW DO WE RUN THIS RACE?
Paul encourages us who are running the spiritual race, to not grow weary, lose heart or be discouraged.
He implores us to run with perseverance, the race that is laid out before us. We must run our race with perseverance and endurance through faith and trust in God.
We are not running the race alone. Jesus is with us each step of the way. The Holy Spirit is with us each step of the way. They truly provide our strength, peace and comfort, when the going gets rough.
As we run the spiritual race of a child of God, we need to make sure that we have our “spiritual blinders" on. God's Word, prayer, faith, trust and obedience are those "spiritual blinders" that keep us focused on Jesus.
We need to make certain that we remain focused, forgetting what is behind and straining forward, toward what is ahead.
Naturally, there are things in life that we must be concerned about; things that get and deserve our attention. It is our duty to look after these things.
However, we must not allow unimportant things to distract us or take our eyes off of the prize.
Satan will do his best to take our attention off of Jesus. “Look over here”, or “Look behind you”, or “Look at this.”
As we complete our journey or race, we need to make certain that our eyes are constantly fixed upon Jesus, staying fixed on the eternal promises and truths that God has given us.
We need to use those blinders.