Can you just imagine sitting a home looking at the tube and just chill’n and you get a knock on the door.

The visitor announces., ”Good News! We are from the Kingdom of God committee.

We have been looking for someone to run the marathon in the next Heaven Bound Olympics.

We have statistics on every person in the entire nation on computer.

We have determined that out of the two hundred seventy-five million people, you are the one person in in Go’d Earthly Kingdom, that has a chance of bringing home the gold.

So you’ve been chosen. You are on the team. You will run the race."

You are a bit taken aback especially when you know good and goodness dang it well ”, that the farthest you've run in years is from the couch to the refrigerator.

The one time you began a running program you ran down your driveway, onto the sidewalk in front of your house getting to the end of your yard only to turn around exhausted and panting barely making back to your La-z-boy.

And just yesterday you were sweating so profusely, dripping like a faucet on the clean kitchen floor.

You know it’s bad when whomsoever is in your home notices you winded and ask a question like, "Did you go for a jog?" "No, I just walked out to the mailbox."

After the shock of being selected passes, you are gripped by the realization of what's happening in your life.

You picture yourself mingling with the elite athletes of the world.

You allow yourself to imagine that maybe you do have what it takes to run the race.

At night you dream about standing on the podium after the race and hearing the national anthem, seeing the flag raised, and bending low to receive the gold medal.

You begin to feel a rush of emotion. You say to yourself, "This is the race I was created to run. This is my destiny. This is why I was born."

This race becomes the great passion of your life.

It dominates your mind. It occupies every waking moment.

To run the race well - to win it if you can - becomes the central focus of your existence.

It is what gets you out of bed in the morning. It is what you live for.

I. The characteristics of the race
As a believer in Jesus Christ, you run a race. It, too, is the race of a lifetime. It, too, dominates your mind. It, too, occupies your waking moments. It, too, becomes the central focus of your existence. It, too, is what you live for.

The writer of Hebrews spoke of this race, "Therefore since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us, and run with endurance the race that lies before us" (Heb. 12:1 HCSB, emphasis added).

A. You have been chosen for the race

In this race, Imagine yourself as a hopeful choice for the Olympics and you’ve been chosen.

However rather than an Olympic committee God Almighty has chosen you.

He has chosen you to run the race of a lifetime.

Imagine the joy of a host of angelic beings knocked on your door selecting you to represent The Kingdom of Heaven.

Announcing that God has selected you for His team.

If you have trusted in Jesus Christ God has done just that.

B. The race is both a contest and a conflict
This is no ordinary race.

The Greek word for race is agon from which we get our word agony.

The race is a contest in daily progress toward Christ-likeness. In many respects we race not against opponents, but against ourselves. Are you more like Jesus today than you were yesterday?

The race is a conflict in that there is an internal struggle of the soul. Our natural bent is toward sinfulness and laziness.

Are you engaging in the necessary disciplines and activities that will enable you to grow and mature in Christ-likeness?

C. The race is unique to you
It has been marked out especially for you. Like the orange cones on the roadway that indicate the path of a long distant race, God has marked out a race distinctive for you that will take you on an adventure. While the destination is the same for everyone - a life like Jesus, the journey that gets us there is different for everyone. Don't compare your track to someone else's track.

D. The race has no time outs
Like the marathon run, this race has no time outs, no breaks, no intermissions, and no halftimes.

We are instructed to run and keep on running.

E. The race is full of obstacles
Unlike the marathon and more like a steeplechase, this race is full of obstacles, barriers, hurdles, and hazards. They can't be avoided or erased. They come in different sizes and at different stages.

F. You run to win this race
"Run in such a way that you may win" (1 Cor. 9:24). Winning is not beating the other runners. The prize is becoming a spiritual champion.

A spiritual champion is one sold out to Jesus, straining to become more like him everyday. The finish line of faith is a life that is more Christian today than yesterday. The goal is not perfection, but progress.

G. Winning the race will require great endurance
Winning this race will require great endurance, perseverance, patience, and resolve. Victory necessitates that we run with undying persistence and steadfast endurance until we arrive at the finish line victorious.

If you are serious about seizing the gold and standing in the winner's circle, you will have to enter into a lifetime of training.

You must arrange your life around certain practices that will enable you to do what you cannot do now by willpower alone.

Listen, do you have any idea of the number of hours an Olympian trains?

I didn’t either until I looked it up!

The average Olympian trains four hours per day, 310 days per year, for six years before succeeding. That translates into more than 7,000 hours of training for an event that may last less than sixty seconds.

This need for training is not only for athletes; it is required for playing a musical instrument, learning a new language, or acquiring a new skill.

In fact, it is mandatory for any significant challenge in life - including becoming a spiritual champion.

The single most important principle for running the race toward becoming a spiritual champion is: Spiritual transformation is not a matter of trying harder, but of training wisely. The apostle Paul encouraged his young protégé Timothy to "train yourself in godliness" (1 Tim. 4:7 ). This thought lies behind Paul's advice to the church at Corinth: "Now everyone who competes exercises self-control in everything. However, they do it to receive a perishable crown, but we an imperishable one" (1 Cor. 9:25).

When it comes to running marathons or becoming a spiritual champion the need is not to try harder but to train wisely. How many times have you heard a sermon or listened to a Bible Study or read a book about following Jesus and said to yourself: "I've got to try harder to be a better Christian"? That's like me saying, "I'm going to try really hard to compete in a triathlon." It won't happen by an act of my will. I would only be able compete in a triathlon by training for a triathlon.

We arrange our life around certain disciplines that help us gain power and strength to become more like Jesus each day, to live a life as Jesus taught and modeled. The activities of prayer, Bible Study, worship, service, evangelism, stewardship are among the needed the disciplines for running the spiritual race.

Prayer: How often are you talking with the Father each day?

Bible Study: Are you engaged in a regular time of Bible reading, devotion, and study?

Worship: Are you praising the Father in regular times of worship?

Service: How are you using your gifts to serve God and his people?

Evangelism: Have you spoken to someone recently regarding his or her relationship with God?

Stewardship: Are you investing regularly and consistently in God's church with your time, talents, and financial resources?

Whats key in winning the race, is to truly live a Christlike life and walk a Christlike walk.