I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. . . . I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Finish the Race
“Citius, altius, fortius” is a Latin phrase meaning “swifter, higher, stronger.” It is the motto of the Olympic games and does well to embody what our calling in Christ pursues.
Christ has already taken care of saving us for a Christian life and setting us apart for an eternal life in heaven. He’s placed us on the path of righteousness but still lets us run. Swifter we flee from temptation. Higher we stretch ourselves to practice Christ-like love. Stronger we stand in the midst of suffering in this world. A shining example of this kind of fortitude was revealed in the 1968 Olympic games in Mexico.
A Tanzanian marathon runner named Akhwari was the last man to finish the marathon race. He arrived in the stadium staggering and limping; and finished his race long after the winner did. Of course, this prompted all kinds of post-race questions as to why he continued when he had no chance of winning.
He simply replied, “My country did not send me to Mexico City to start the race. They sent me to finish the race.”
A Christian who knew why God saved him and set him apart, the apostle Paul, also spoke in similar terms, “I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me . . . I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12,14).
Run, Christian, run. Finish the race.
Lord Jesus, I know you can understand me when I feel weak because you became weak. You became weary and tired. You were exhausted at times and overworked—like me. Sometimes I just want to sit down and give up and look for easier ways, but I know you don’t want that for me. Help me finish the race. Lift my feet to follow your steps. Extend my arms to reach others in love. Wipe my tears of sorrow so that I can better see the path. Lead me on, Lord. Lead me on. Amen.