In His Word, God likes to call our journey through life a race. And throughout Scripture, He tells us to run this race with pizzazz—pizzazz to win the prize at the end of the race. In Philippians 3:14, the apostle Paul says, “I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” And in 2 Timothy 4:7-8 Paul says this: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing. “
According to the Bible, there is a prize to be won at the end of the race. It’s an inheritance that’s accessible to all believers. To get that prize, you’ve got to have pizzazz.
First, let me be clear. If you believe in the finished work of Jesus Christ, your salvation is 100% secure. There are two different judgments that will take place in the future—one is called the Great White Throne judgment, where believers and nonbelievers will be separated. But the second judgment, which is the Bema Seat or the Judgment Seat of Christ, is where we as believers will all be judged for how we ran the race of life. While all believers will live in heaven with God for all of eternity, not everyone will receive the heavenly prizes that are available. (That doesn’t go well with the picture a lot of us have in our heads of heaven, that we all are going to get angel wings and spend our time flying around playing harps, does it?)
So how do we run with pizzazz in order to win the race? In order to do that we have to develop our endurance. Endurance means having “the ability to withstand hardship or adversity; especially the ability to sustain a prolonged stressful effort or activity.” In our culture, everything is about being comfortable. But our faith will rise up when our endurance is being developed, and our endurance will never develop when we stay holed up in our comfort zones.
The Christian life requires faith. When you let your faith in Jesus determine everything you do in your life, you will develop endurance, because that means that even in the worst moments, you aren’t going to throw in the towel. You aren’t going to give up. Endurance doesn’t develop at the finish line, but during the race itself. Run with pizzazz and run with eternal endurance.