So why does Paul use running a race to describe the Christian life? Can't you say the same thing about driving a car? You can't drive forward when you are always looking in the rear view mirror as to what is going on behind you, without running into something in front of you. I have to admit that the imagery of running a race is a lot better than driving a car.
First of all, when you run a race you are the one doing the hard work in running the actual race. Whereas, in a car ride it is the engine that is moving you down the road, not of your own strength. The Christian life is not a car ride that you take from one point to another. You can't just set the GPS and hope that you get there. Even with the GPS it is always recalibrating if you don't follow it the way it says to go. When you run a race, you have a set course that you have to follow.
Second, in running a race there are two things that tend to happen when you look back. One is that you actually slow down your pace to look at where everyone else is at. The other thing is by looking back you can stumble and fall over something that was in front of you. If you focus on what is in the rear view mirror, you cold cause a big wreck. Either way it is a good thing to stay focused on what is ahead and not let the past wreck your life.
Fourth and last point, the runner never stops until they reach the finish line. Life is a marathon, we have to press on to the goal that is at the end. Some of us might finish strong, others might collapse just after the finish line and some may feel like they are having to drag themselves across the line. Even with a car as long as it has gas you can make it to the end of your trip. Should you run out of gas and have to get out and push it to the next station, you still press on.
One person that reminds me of this is Amy Purdy. Not only did she overcome a deadly disease, she did not let the outcome of having to have both legs amputated stop her from moving forward. She was the first double amputee to win a bronze medal at the Paralympic Games. She then pressed on to come in second place on Dancing With The Stars. Amy is a true inspiration to let nothing stop you from overcoming what life might put in your path.
We can overcome just like Amy Purdy as we follow what Paul has laid out. See you at the finish line!