Yesterday I watched the finale of the Amazing Race as the last three teams standing vied to cross the finish line first and claim the million dollar prize. Each team made a major mistake in the final leg that could have cost them the race.
Art and J.J. appeared to be out of the race when they couldn’t decipher a riddle sending them to twin skyscraper. They bounded back into second place when Rachel and Brendon hurriedly read a clue and missed an important piece of information. Rachel and Dave seemed to have cruised to an easy win, only to be informed that they had missed a challenge. They hurried back to find Art and J.J. in the midst of the challenge. Fortunately for them, Art had a difficult time riding a narrow sled down a hill, while Rachel managed it with ease. Rachel and Dave finished the challenge and were crowned the winners of this seasons Amazing Race.
As I watched the teams partake in extreme challenges, I had no doubt that I would never want to be a contestant on the Amazing Race. Not even if I were young and fit. I have no desire to repel off a 44-story building, as the final three teams did, or to haul buckets of manure as contestants did in a recent episode.
I was reminded, however, that we are all in an amazing race. And this race is for much higher stakes than a million dollars. Our participation in this race will determine our eternal future. Those who “win” the race receive eternal life in Heaven as their reward. In the Amazing Race, there is only one winner; however, in the amazing race of life, we can all win.
Winning the amazing race of life requires accepting Jesus Christ as your Savior. Many people claim that there are other paths to God, but the Bible teaches us that “there is no other name under Heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) Salvation is attained simply by acknowledging my need for salvation, believing that Jesus died on the cross as punishment for my sins, and confessing Him as lord of my life.
Winning the amazing race of life requires resisting the temptation to quit or be sidetracked. Contestants in the Amazing Race face roadblocks, detours, and u-turns. Likewise, Satan tries to block our path, send us on detours, and u-turn us back to a life of sin and selfishness through temptation. We can overcome Satan’s wiles by keeping our eyes fixed firmly on Jesus. God promises that He will be there in your moment of temptation. “God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” (1 Corintians 10:13)
Winning the amazing race of life requires focus and dedication with your eye firmly on the prize. The Amazing Race contestants are highly motivated, as they want to win the million dollar prize. Paul explained in his first letter to the Corinthians that our goal in life is much more valuable. “Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.” (1 Corinthians 9:25) He said toward the end of his life, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me a crown of righteousness.” (2 Timothy 4: 7 -8)
Winning the amazing race of life involves making mistakes, acknowledging them, and getting back on track. Contestants on the Amazing Race frequently take a wrong turn or misread the instructions and make a mistake. They continue on the wrong path until they realize their mistake and have fallen behind in the race. At that point they have the choice to quit and give up or turn around and keep competing. Sometimes they are able to overcome their mistake and remain in the game; other times they are too far behind and are eliminated. In life, when we acknowledge our mistakes (sins) and seek forgiveness, God promises to forgive our sins. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) Forgiveness gets us back on track with God.
Rachel and Dave were greeted by the cheers and applause of their competitors as they crossed the finish line and won the Amazing Race. One day my life on Earth will be over and I will be transcended to Heaven where my Savior will be waiting and rejoicing that I have run a good race and have finished the course.
What path are you following in the race of life? Can you look forward with joy and a grateful heart to a life in Heaven and a crown of righteousness? If not, I pray that you will allow Jesus to guide and direct you to the path that leads to eternal glory and reward.