Running The Race Of Life
Every endeavour in life comes with its rules and regulations. Every profession has a set standard for prospective adherents. In order to be inducted, or allowed to practise, you would have to satisfy some basic requirements, and having undergone the requisite training, you would then be tested in order to know how well you have absorbed the things learnt. If you were found competent, you would be issued a professional certificate and thereafter absorbed into the profession. This simple analogy also applies to our race for God’s kingdom.
Just as we have some rules guiding us in the physical, so also we have in the spiritual. We are not here by accident. Though we may not have any vivid recollection of who we were before we found ourselves here on planet earth, we can, through God’s word and the Holy Spirit’s revelations, understand the purpose of our being here. We are created to know, love, and serve God with all our heart and to love our neighbours as ourselves. We are spirits with a soul and living in a body. One day, that spirit and soul would leave the body and go back to God. Thus, by being conscious of this fact, and by striving to live in conformity with God’s will, we fortify our spirit and soul for the battles of life.
Our life is a journey, which started the minute we were conceived; to terminate the minute we take our final breath. The final laurel that awaits us is eternal life. We should never forget this fact. No matter our success here, if we fail to fortify our spirit for eternity, then all would have been in vain. But becoming a winner in the spiritual sense does not come easy. There would be obstacles on our path. There would be pains and sorrows and often we may feel like giving up. However, we can find consolation in the words of our Saviour in John 16: 33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
So, we have an assurance that as we journey on in life, we shall triumph, no matter what comes our way. Even if the earth quakes, we shall not be afraid because God is with us. But this assurance comes with a caveat. While we have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus shed on the cross of Calvary, it is not a licence to live recklessly. The word of God is clear about what is expected of us. We, as children of God, are called to a life of holiness. We are called to live like Christ, Who emptied Himself that we may be saved.
The book of in Hebrew 12: 1, sheds light into how we should live: “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.” What is the race marked out for us? It is the race for eternal life, which Jesus has won for us. But we can only claim it when we identify with Christ by obeying the commandments of God.
• Very Rev. Msgr. Osu, Director, Social Communications, Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos.