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R.A.C.E., Part 1

by | Jan 6, 2017 | R.A.C.E. (A Mini-Series), Repentance, Salvation

“…I have finished the race…” (2 Tim 4:7)

Hey, 2016 is the year of Olympics! There are several athletic events which would capture the imagination of Sports aficionados; but one which is guaranteed to stir one’s soul is the Marathon race. Period. There are races and then there is Marathon in a pedestal of its own. There is no other race which places so much demand on a runner’s stamina and perseverance as this 26 miler does.

The race that Apostle Paul is alluding to here in his dying declaration (very soon, he would die a martyr for Christ, beheaded by half-insane Roman Emperor Nero) is not your typical 100 metres sprint (I agree, it has its own appeal); but the marathon race of his spiritual life. Nine times out of ten, the christian life is more of a Marathon than a Sprint. One is bound to come across more of Paul-like testimonies than accounts resembling that of the repentant thief on the cross, whose road to Paradise was a bit like a Bolt’s sprint race! Let’s hit the loop line now and peep into the history of the Marathon race…

Brief history of the Marathon race…

The modern Marathon commemorates the 25 km run of the soldier Pheidippides from a battlefield at the site of the town of Marathon, Greece, to Athens in 490 B.C, bringing news of a Greek victory over the Persians. Legend has it that Pheidippides delivered the momentous message “Niki!” (“victory”), then collapsed and died, thereby setting a precedent for dramatic conclusions to the marathon.

In 1908, the race’s length was extended from about 25 miles to 26.2 miles (42km), so that it finished in front of the Royal Box. This distance is still used today. Very much in line with the Biblical principle that the “best is reserved for the last” (John 2:10), the Men’s Marathon race (“best” athletic event) is invariably held on the last day of every Olympics games.

Onto the main track again…

So what are the lessons we can glean from Apostle Paul’s life in the backdrop of a Marathon race? By the way, how about weaving this Series of 4 parts around the acronym RACE itself for easier understanding…using mostly the Pauline writings found in the Blessed Scripture…


While the life-changing experience of every born-again Christian may not be as melodramatic as that of the Apostle Saul (then Saul of Tarsus, see Acts 9:1-16), no Christian can begin the race of his life (life in tow with the Almighty) without repentance, which is all about setting right the relationship with the Creator. This relationship was impaired by the Fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3). The crafty Enemy of God–the Satan–and our souls did our first parents in. Satan, incidentally, was one of the archangels in Heaven, before “the evil desire to sit in God’s throne entered him, resulting in his abysmal fall” (Isa 14:12-15).

All of us are sinners by birth, enslaved to Satan as the Bible proclaims (Romans 3:23/5:12). The Wise would concur. Think it through…after we are born and are growing…does anyone (our parents or our School teachers) teach us how to lie, how to become jealous, etc? Does it not come  all (these sinful traits) very naturally to us? Talk of genetics and transmission of characteristic from a parent to a child…we all inherit the fallen Adamic nature. No wonder the Saviour launched His Earthly preaching ministry with these immortal words: “Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand” (Matt 4:17). How’s that for prioritizing–putting horse before the cart?

I would never forget my childhood and early teenage age, which I spent wandering aimlessly in life, seeking pleasure from several worldly enjoyments but having found no real, lasting joy.  I desperately went to Church one day (October 16th, 1983) in deep depression. There I heard a sermon on the “Born-again experience” (John 3:3) and invited Jesus into my life. In retrospect, it seems that the Saviour was waiting there (St Georges Church, Abids, Hyderabad) on that day for me with open arms…

Want me to tell you, how I prayed on that day of 16th October 1983? Well…here goes: “Lord Jesus, I confess I am a sinner by birth. I believe you shed your blood and died on the Cross for my sins. Please pardon all the sins I have committed so far in my life. Please come into my life right now. Amen”.

Dear Reader, if you have already accepted the Saviour, Praise God. Otherwise, why not make Your’s truly’s prayer, your own as well…right now! It is at this point that the Starter’s gun is heard, as it were, in the spiritual marathon race called the Christian life.

Prayer: Father, how blessed are those who have set their relationship right with Thee by appropriating in their lives the atoning work of Your Son Jesus on the Cross! Let not their love for Thee borne out of gratitude ever diminish. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries

(To access the entire R.A.C.E. mini-series, please click here.)