Ken writes a post that paints Christianity as being not that much different from the world. Rather than the worldly rat race of careers, money, status, its a rat race of faith. Whoever can get to the finish line of heaven with the most godly stamina–wins. Its an endurance competition not only with other Christians but with the world. Whoever can suck it up the best–wins, whoever can suffer in silence the most–wins. Faith is not a journey, but a race. Faith, if done correctly and if you are godly, will take you in a straight line to God. Its the express route to God and being teacher’s pet. However, that is not how most people’s faith/religious experience looks. Rather most people are on a journey as demonstrated by the “mess” on the right. It doesn’t mean that those on the right fail to get to the same destination they just don’t see faith as a race, as something that you need to win or finish as #1.
“Imagine a top runner in the Olympics and she knows she can outrun the rest of the competitors, so she stops along the way to get a coffee, and then watch a movie, then pick up a twenty pound sack of gold coins and carry them with her to the finish line. She did not come in last, but she came in the middle of the pack, with her talents squandered because she wanted her coffee, movie and gold. What would all of the spectators say about her, and far more what would her own competitors think? This woman could have won it all, but she wanted her pleasures and her security over winning the race”
This cute analogy suggest there are only a few slots in heaven and if you don’t get to the finish line in a straight fashion, you are rather going straight to hell. Anyone who gets distracted or stumbles along the way may not win any prizes, but they still arrive at the destination. I think this mind set speaks a lot as to how the godly, superior, holier-than-thou, crowd operates. They are very concerned about how they look to other Christians–gasp-“what would her competitors think”. They have to always be quoting scripture and saying prayers publicly (whether they mean them or not), wearing their cross necklace, because gasp-“what if others think I am not really a Christian”!They can’t imagine that someone would want to take their faith as a journey or at a strolling pace rather than win all the prizes of being first in heaven, first in God’s eyes. Its like how straight A students can’t imagine how anyone could be happy with a bunch of B and C grades. How can anyone be happy just being average? How can anyone be happy simply finishing the race and not being #1? A person who runs a marathon even if they still come in last is still seen as successful, at least I think they would be by the average person. However, they are not successful to those who have a race mentality (must be #1). Running 26 miles has no value in its own right unless you are #1. Those who don’t win any medals at the Olympics are failures in their mind and don’t see that even qualifying for the Olympics is a huge success. Its a very “all or nothing”, “black or white” thought pattern.
So, the goal for Christians is to remove any “weights” in their life that prevent them from being #1.
“What are the weights we are called to lay aside? They are anything that hinder our race of faith and take our eyes off of our perfect Savior. The weights of the things of this world can be the Internet, television, smart phones, hobbies, the desire to accumulate wealth, too much value in sports or in our children, or anything that distracts us from spending any time in the Word and prayer.”
Right, because life isn’t a worldly rat race its a spiritual rat race. All eyes are not to be on the gold medal, but being God’s #1, his favorite, his pet. Completing the Christian race does not make you a success only being the winner does. Losers (or those who get distracted along the way/aren’t perfect) go to hell and belong to Satan and the winner goes to heaven and belongs to God. Those to be more concerned about are those who drop out of the race all together, who quit on their faith.
To wrap this all up with some humor–here is the mindset Christians should have:
This is how you don’t win the race:
and this is what happens when Christians have a race mentality, they look no different than the world: