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In the race with God

The following thoughts originally come from a preacher for a confirmation and are reproduced here in a slightly shorter version. The examples and thoughts are perfectly suitable for a bike ride (mountain bike tour) or for a bike rally. People who take part in a bike rally/tour start voluntarily, everyone wants to have the stamina and make it to the finishing line. How they can achieve this and the problems they might face on the way, are made clear in this text.

„Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, 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, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians, chap. 3, verses 12 – 14:

I do not know if you can feel the dynamic which hides in this text.

  • Energy.
  • Motivation.
  • Something is happening.

Why is Paul so motivated?


Paul describes his relationship to Jesus in these lines. He started on the journey with Jesus.

He portrays the dynamic, which came into his life through Jesus. Paul is running a race with Jesus.

He speaks about the goal which spurs him on. He wants to get to Jesus – the finishing line.

Paul was everything but boring. Paul had fire.

We have got to know you and have seen that you are not boring and that you have energy and this is why: Paul suits you all. He can be a role model for you. A role model in faith.

Now we want to tense the strings in life’s bow and ask ourselves:

1. Do I want to start the race with Jesus?

2. How can I run my race with Jesus?

3. Do I have my goal in sight?

To the first question: Do I want to start the race with Jesus?

Even Paul had such a thought process before deciding. Thinking about the material and dealing with it is important. You cannot simply make the decision. You have to inform yourself and think about things. As I bought my new mountain bike, I didn’t just think of the idea at 3 o’clock in the morning, get up at 8 o’clock and walk into any old shop and buy any old mountain bike. No – I collected information beforehand. I flicked through magazines, looked on the internet…so that I was clued up. The last few months (or camp days) were also such a time for you.

You have received lots of information about faith. You have read some of the bible. You have gotten to know people who live with Jesus and who have told you about their faith. And now the question arises whether you want to start the race with Jesus.

Paul said: „I run towards the goal in order to seize it, after Jesus Christ took possession of me.“

Starting the race with Jesus means: Jesus should be the lord in my life. He is my saviour. I believe that he wants the best for me so I trust him with my life.

Now to the second question: How can I run my race with Jesus?

Some of us have bound to have already started the race with Jesus, but the question is: What has become of it? Am I still in the race with him?

„Starting a race with Jesus“ does not mean running a 100 meter sprint. It does not mean trying really hard for a short time and everything is quickly over. No – that is not the bible’s description of life as a Christian. It is a long distance race.

I have already told you about my plans for the mountain bike purchase. I am now showing you my final choice. If I want to go off-road, I cannot use a normal racing bike. And I cannot climb onto the bike in a suit or in uncomfortable clothes. To stay in the race, we need the correct equipment: Helmet, cycling clothes, glasses.

Paul started the race with Jesus. He had the correct equipment for his race with Jesus.

He writes about it in his letter to the Christians in Ephesus: Hold God’s trust up as a shield in front of you, The acknowledgement of your saviour is your helmet and God’s word is the sword which the spirit gives you. Pray at all times and ask God for the power in his spirit. What might our equipment for a long distance race with Jesus look like? I will name 3 deciding things

  1. Read the bible

    So that our friendship with Jesus becomes even stronger, we have to spend time with him. It is a little bit like training. He has given us the bible so that we can get to know him better. Some of you have the bible reading plan „Starting the day“. Take this as an instruction booklet. You will notice that your relationship to Jesus will become deeper through regular reading of the bible. Only regular training leads to success in sport.

  2. Look for people who are also in the race with Jesus!

    Meet up with others and go to the group together. Give each other the motivation to stick with Jesus. It can also be good to have someone to talk to who is more mature in their faith. You can ask them for tips and clear up some questions. If you think, „my friendship with Jesus is my own personal affair“; you will find it difficult after a while. We need a team around us. Christians are not individual sportsmen.

  3. Remain in contact with God.

    The racing bike riders always have a button in their ear so that they can stay in touch with the trainer. They always have contact by radio. That is necessary to stay up to date. We also need constant contact to God. Praying and talking to Jesus. Take the time for it.

If you are equipped with these things, you remain in the race with Jesus and keep the finishing line in view.

To the third question: Do I have the goal in sight?

I will read what Paul said once again. „ Brothers, 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, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

Despite the correct equipment and the clear goal in sight, our race can still become difficult every now and again. If I ride along my daily tour, there are two sections which are quite difficult.

The first steep hill. I must fight with it every time. And one section which is always quite muddy. It is always wet and I always get dirty. Despite these two harder sections, I love being on tour with my mountain bike. The race with Jesus can turn out to be similar.

An awfully steep hill might come which we have to fight with. After the camp, you were so motivated to start reading the bible. And then came a hard phase where you found it difficult to motivate yourself. You have the impression that 100 other things are better and more important than the time spent with God’s words. You find it really difficult, to bring yourself to read the bible. But what is the best thing about this awful hill? Conquering it!

And the same is true of your race with Jesus. You spend time with Jesus even when you do not seem to be bothered or come across a section of the tour, where the mud flies. That can also happen to our friendship with Jesus.

You have started the race with Jesus and then lots of things suddenly change. My life has received a new centre through Jesus. Things which were decisive before are not anymore. And things which did not play any role at all, suddenly become vitally important. Misunderstanding appears all around me. Classmates and friends cannot really understand it. Siblings ogle at me, maybe even warily. I notice how the dirt is flying and how I am being laughed at. People ask questions, wind me up and maybe even tittle-tattle about me.

As I began my friendship with Jesus, this is exactly what happened to me. In this phase, other Christians gave me the decisive support which I needed.

A team is very important.

If you challenge your race with Jesus, strive for the goal which is worlds apart from all other goals. Paul described the prize which is waiting for us at the finishing line. An everlasting life with God is the winner’s prize, which God did not only promise but also keeps open for us. This prize cannot be topped by anything. The bible tries to describe this prize. However even the bible can only describe it as unreal. The largest power of imagination cannot think of the size and the value of this prize. The everlasting togetherness with God gives our life a decisive fulfilment. Paul knows this. This is why he does not let himself be shaken by anything. This is why he can say:

„, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.“

We hope that you are so certain and determined on your journey.

Start the race with Jesus

Remain in the race with him

Then you will also reach the goal – the Lord himself

Composer: Sabine und Andi Heitz, deacons
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