Eternal life means I have God’s supernatural grace within me that enables me to live the Christian life. His power strengthens me to run the race in a way that glorifies Him.
Paul said, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13). God’s power indwells us in the person of the Holy Spirit, whom we received at our conversion. Our problem is that we so often fail to tap into His power that is always there. We are like the man who was pushing his car up a hill only to discover he merely needed to turn the key and ignite the powerful engine. How much better it is to turn on the power and enjoy the ride. So it is in the Christian life.
Running is a demanding sport, draining every ounce of energy a person possesses. Running God’s race saps all our power. We soon become depleted mentally, emotionally, and physically. That is the nature of running. It is full of uphill climbs, obstacles to overcome, winds to endure, and the scorching sun that leaves us feeling empty.
At times, we grow so weary that we want to pull over and stop running. But the race of life demands that we keep moving forward. We cannot stop. There are no yellow caution flags to stop this race, no pit stops. Just the daily grind.
To run life’s race, we must have the power of God. In our weakness, God’s power is perfected. The very divine power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead is available to us for living the Christian life. This supernatural strength energizes us to run life’s race. By His grace, we are raised to walk a new resurrection life in Christ.
We are like the man who went into a hardware store one Saturday morning to buy a saw. Seeing an easy mark, the salesman showed him a fancy chain saw. He commented that it was their best seller with the latest in technology, and guaranteed it to cut ten cords of firewood a day.
The inexperienced customer was impressed with the sales hype and bought the chain saw on the spot.
Later that day, this same man returned to the store, chain saw in hand, looking somewhat haggard, exhausted, and exasperated. “Something is wrong with this saw,” he moaned. “I worked as hard as I could and only managed to cut three cords of wood. I could do four cords with my old-fashioned saw.” Looking confused, the salesman said, “Here, let me try it on some wood we keep out back.” They went to the woodpile, the salesman pulled the cord, and the motor roared to life.”
The customer leaped back and exclaimed, “What is that noise?”
We can be much like this exasperated customer, attempting to live the Christian life in our own strength. But we have God’s power within us, enabling us to do what is otherwise impossible. We have the power to resist temptation and love the unlovely. We have the power to rejoice in trials and overcome the world. We have the power to resist the devil and witness for Christ. We have the power to break old habits and live our new life in Christ. We have the power to run God’s race.
Editor’s Note: This excerpt is used by permission. Lawson, Steven J., In It to Win It (Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 1992, 2013).