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“Gentlemen, start your engines!”
Fans the world over thrill to the words that signal the start of what promises to be an exhilarating race. They’re drawn to the roar of the engines, the mind-boggling speed, the intensity, the drama, and yes, the danger. Competition is intense. Tempers flare as rivals challenge each other for position on the track. It takes an enormous amount of skill and concentration, teamwork and strategy---and of course, a good car---for a racing team to avoid disaster and emerge victorious at the checkered flag.
You know, the Bible often compares life itself to a great race---one we all compete in (1 Corinthians 9:24; Hebrews 12:1). It’s just as full of excitement and intensity, drama and danger. There are challenges to face and obstacles to overcome, moments when our strategy fails or our team lets us down. We lose focus and concentration---or another driver does---and suddenly we’re spinning wildly out of control. Disaster threatens us around every curve... and not just the frustration of a blown tire or a crumpled fender. We stand to lose far more than a few points or positions. The risk is even greater than that of physical injury.
See, at one time or another, every one of us has gotten off track. We’ve violated the rules of the road and drawn a black flag. The Bible calls this “sin.” The penalty for sin is more than a fine or a temporary setback---it’s permanent disqualification: death and eternal separation from God. We’re all set to “crash and burn” (Romans 3:23; Romans 6:23).
But God, in His mercy, came up with a way to rescue us from this disaster.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
God sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross and take the punishment for our sin. He paid the penalty for us. Now, “if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
To survive this often wild and crazy race, we have to admit that we’re in over our heads. We need to turn our lives over completely to God and put Him in the driver’s seat. He never suffers a lapse of concentration; He won’t lose control. He knows how to navigate under the most difficult conditions. He will bring us safely through the congestion and around the pile-ups, leading us to victory lane and the winner’s circle.
The prize that awaits us is far more exciting than trophies, prize money, or sponsorships. We can look forward to eternal life in Heaven---a place so beautiful it defies description. A hope so glorious, it’s beyond our ability to comprehend. A love so precious, that nothing in this world can compare!
If you want to race to win, pray something like this:
Dear God, I know that I have gotten so far off track. Thank You for sending Jesus to pay the penalty for my sins. Please forgive me. Take control of my life. Help me to run this race in a way that brings glory to You. Lead me to victory in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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