Running Your Race To Win

By Greg Quinn

October 7th, 2014

No athlete is successful without discipline.  Take a runner for example.  To prepare for an upcoming race, he must work out rigorously, he must watch what he eats, he has to prepare to get enough sleep, he must push his body but not so much as to hurt it.  He must work and exercise and plan and eat right in order to prepare himself the best he possibly can in order to win the race for which he is entering.  A winner of the marathon requires discipline.

I like baseball.  If you are following the World Series Playoffs, you recognize that the best teams in all the divisions are now playing for the prize.  To become a great pitcher, for example, you must learn to control your body, eat right, exercise, control your mind, learn patience, and work through the pain.  To win at the race, the race being the World Series Champion, you must discipline yourself.

You are reading this article through, the world’s largest online gun test magazine.  You most likely visit because you like guns.  You probably enjoy shooting and/or hunting.  Even with shooting or hunting, it requires patience, practice, and the development of a skill.  You need the right rifle, for example, of the right caliber for the game you are hunting, or to accomplish the degree of skill you wish to achieve in the target field.  You will need the right optic in many cases.  You need a caliber that will do the job but not overly punish your shoulder.  You must have the proper ammunition; 22LR ammo won’t work in a 30-06 rifle.  For that crucial shot, you must control your breathing and exercise a great deal of patience.  You will need to buy within your budget.  You need to understand how to control the gun, how to shoot it effectively, and how to clean it.  You need to practice and practice and practice to get good.  You need to become one with your weapon, developing a skill where it is an offshoot of your mind.  To land that big record buck, you must discipline yourself.


1 Corinthians 9:25  (NASB)

Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.


Discipline is self-control.  Delayed satisfaction.  You must learn to put off what you want to do now in order to get what you want to get later.

For the runner, he might need to forego that piece of pie, order a smaller portion of food, forget Mexican food, eat things that don’t taste so good, learn to run hungry, drink water instead of Diet Cokes, exercise when he doesn’t feel like it, get up at 4AM to run a few miles before going to work, and then doing the same thing after his small dinner at night.  He puts off what he wants now (that piece of pie, for example) in order to get what he really wants later (the prize for winning the race).

For the baseball player, he also has to watch what he eats, exercise more, learn to work through the pain, control his mind, and practice when he’d rather be doing something else.  He puts off what he wants now (less stress on his body, that piece of pie, for example) in order to get what he really wants later (the World Series Championship).

For you shooters, you spend your hard-earned money on just the right rifle, and then a scope that probably costs more than the rifle, then lots of ammo, then time on the range, then adjustment to environmental conditions, to braving the cold of an early Tennessee December morning to sit in that deer stand for hours without moving in order to have just one shot at that record buck.  You put off what you want now (more sleep, less time on the range, warmth) in order to get what you really want later (that record buck).

1 Corinthians 9:25 reminds us that the competitor, in whatever event, exercises self-control in all things in order to achieve the prize (crown, wreath, ring, or trophy).  The competitor (athlete, runner, shooter, pitcher, etc.) gladly goes through the acts of discipline and self-control in order to win.  But we Christians, who have a much more important race, often lack discipline and self-control and therefore don’t come away with the desired prize.

Discipline is a tool God gave us to help develop a life of joy.  You learn to live right to enjoy life more.

Discipline affects every area of our lives.  Our mouth, our mind, our money, our health, our time, our relationships, our attitudes.

How do you discipline your mouth?  You don’t say things you should not.  You say things you should.  You train yourself, just as an athlete trains his body, as to how to control your mouth. 

How do you discipline your mind?  You take care as to what you put into it.  An old computer industry saying stated, “garbage in, garbage out”.  A computer only contains what is put into it.  The same is true of your mind.  How can you think on bad things and get pure thoughts?  How can you think bad of another person and then develop a love toward them?

Your money should be under subjection to God.  God gives us 90% to use out of the 100% that is His to start with.  He only asks for 10% back.  It’s not about the money itself; God owns everything.  He doesn’t need your money.  But you need to give your money in order to develop the life that God wants you to have.  You do it for you.  But it takes discipline and faith.

If your health is not under control, not disciplined, then you may end up with serious health issues that affect how long you live and the quality of life you have while here on earth.  If you eat too many sweets, chances are you become diabetic.  If you eat too much and are way overweight, chances are you will develop serious health problems.  If you don’t take the proper advice from your doctor regarding your health, you can develop problems and die young or not enjoy the life you do have.  Jesus took a beating for our healing (“by his stripes ye are healed”).  God wants you to be healthy.  But we often overlook the things we should do and therefore suffer the consequences.  Exercise, eat right, get enough rest, challenge your mind; these and other things are here for our benefit.

Time management is a serious problem in America, and around much of the world.  We are always “too busy”.  But God never told us to be “busy”.  He told us to be “fruitful”.  We are to use the time we have wisely.  Time is a commodity that all of us have the same amount of.  We each only have 24 hours in a day.  How we use this 24 hours often determines our happiness, our health, and our futures.

Relationships suffer when we don’t discipline ourselves in regards to our relationships.  I don’t have the kind of relationship I could have with my brothers or my mother or my spouse or my child because of my attitudes toward them, or my time commitments.  Relationships require discipline.  If you want a better relationship, train to develop this better relationship.

Attitudes, someone said, are like armpits.  Everyone has one, and most of them stink.  Unfortunately, that is more true than not.  How can you be tired all the time from overwork or poor time management or not taking care of your body and have a good attitude?  How can you get your priorities out of whack and put God somewhere down the list and then feel guilty about it (but not enough to change) and then this not be reflected in your poor attitude?  Use self-control to change your attitude.

Self-control is advanced decision making.  You decide in advance what you want to achieve, then put the areas of your life in subjection to this goal.  If you want to be a better runner, then you get up early and practice.  If you want to be a better shot, you work with your tool and shoot a lot.  Discipline is to plan your pain, and plan your pleasure.  If you only plan pleasure you will end up with a miserable life.  You must plan your pain to enjoy your pleasure.

So what do we do?  We can understand how as an athlete what we must do in order to win the race.  If a runner will do all this for a trophy, then why isn’t it important enough that we do what is required to win at this race called life?

Spend time with God.  Discipline yourself every day to spend time with God.  If it is important enough to you, you will do it.  If you were on dialysis in order to save your life, you would go for treatment.  Look at spending time with God as that important.  You have time; we all have the same amount.  Discipline yourself to set aside the time to do it.

Study the Word.  The Bible is the only book ever written that tells us how to live forever.  Inside the pages of the Bible are the age-old keys to health, happiness, prosperity, riches, friendships, great sex, and winning at this race called life.  When you study the Word of God, you have the Creator of the Universe talking to you.  Learn what it says.  Learn to apply the Word to your life.  If you have a problem in a certain area (like Selfishness, for example, like most of us), then study scriptures on selfishness.  If you are a talebearer, then study scriptures about the tongue and integrity.  If you have an addiction, then look at what the Bible says about how to overcome addictions. 

Decide to live longer.  If you have accepted Jesus as your Savior and Lord, then you have decided to live forever.  Through this act of acceptance of Jesus as the Son of God, you have made the decision to accept the free gift of eternal life.  So, you life forever through the Spirit after this earthly body is gone.  But why not try to live as long as you can here on earth?  God put you here for a reason.  You are no accident.  So, decide to live longer.  How?  Take better care of your body.  Use your time more wisely.  Give to others.  Learn compassion.  Learn love.  Read your Bible and do what it says.  Develop a relationship with God. 

If you want to win in a race, you will discipline yourself to win.  If you want to win in this race of life, then you need to discipline yourself to win also.  You have the advantage if you are a Christian.  So do the rest.  Decide to win.  Practice to win.  Exercise self-control to win.  Work to win.  And, above all, have faith that God will see you through all your challenges, as He never leaves you or forsakes you.

Win the race.

Greg Quinn