7 Precepts To Empower You To Win The Marathon Of Life

Do You Believe that life is a marathon? And if it is what do we have to do to win?


On November 5 51,307 runners lined up for the running of the 47th New York City Marathon. They represented 139 countries, as well as, all 50 states plus Puerto Rico and Washington D.C.

Life Is A Marathon

Did you watch the NYC Marathon? What a sea of humanity as those 51,307 runners started the race. Even more impressive is that 50,766 runners finished the race. That’s an impressive 98.9% of runners who completed the 26.2 miles that wound through five boroughs.

Like the runners who competed in the NYC marathon, you and I are running a marathon too. It’s called life.

Run To Win

Paul has this to say about it in I Corinthians 9:29-27 (MSG), “You’ve all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You’re after one that’s gold eternally. I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. No sloppy living for me!I’m staying alert and in top condition. I’m not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself.”

If we aren’t careful, we can think about the life we’re in right now as the prize. You know, work hard to make our lives better; nice homes, nice cars, nice clothes, good friends a job that fulfills a passion.

We Are Getting It All Wrong

This life isn’t our destination it’s our race. And our prize is our heavenly reward for faithful service.

Now, I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with having nice things, good friends and a job you love. It’s just not where our focus should be. They are add-ons when we run the right race in the right way.

“Aim at Heaven and you will get Earth ‘thrown in’; aim at earth and you will get neither.” – C. S. Lewis

Running Our Race With Endurance

I was inspired by Paul’s vivid description in I Corinthians 9:24-27 to dig into what enables a marathon runner to complete a 26.2 mile race.

In researching what makes them tick I discovered seven precepts that apply equally well to our spiritual race.

Let’s unpack them.

Precept #1 – Don’t Skimp On Training Time

There is no question that marathoners are obsessed with training. Running experts recommend three to four months of training for a marathon.

You need to run at least three to four times a week and most run daily. Without this type of dedicated training, there is no way a runner will have the endurance to win a race as demanding as a marathon.

The same is true for us. We don’t wake up one morning to discover we are super Christians, winners of the Life Marathon.

Not hardly, we need to train, or we will stumble. If we don’t practice running in faith consistently, we will not have the endurance we need to finish our race.

Our training consists of reading the Bible, praising and worshiping God and asking Him to attune our hearts to His.

Precept #2 – Schedule Rest And Recovery

Training for a marathon is both mental and physical.

That means in addition to exercise you need to eat right. But you not only have to feed your physical body you need to feed your spiritual body as well.

That will give us endurance for the road ahead.

But don’t forget to rest. God designed us that way. Remember after he created the world He rested (Genesis 2:2) and He told us to work six days and rest on the seventh.

Self-care is not selfish. Without it, we will never be able to finish our race or serve others.

Precept #3 – Visualize The Whole Race

If you don’t know where you are going its difficult to train or stay motivated to finish.  marathon

We need a vision for every area of our lives. Visualizing what life is all about and where we are headed. Even what we are likely to encounter along the way.

“Where there is no vision from God, the people run wild, but those who adhere to God’s instruction know genuine happiness.” – Proverbs 29:18 (Voice)

Having a clear picture of where you are headed will help you keep going when things get tough.

Precept #4 – Get The Right Equipment

From the shoes, clothes and various training tools, I’m sure you agree that the equipment needed to run a marathon is essential and highly specialized.

Well, it’s no different in our spiritual marathon. You will want to get a  Bible that is easy for you to understand. You can check out some of the many different versions here. For a list of my favorite translations email me at k@klgreenwalt.com.

Spending daily time in God’s Word is the most essential part of your training.

You might also want to get a devotional and a journal to record your prayers and experiences.

Precept #5 – Keep Your Eyes On The Prize

Remember, I mentioned earlier that the prize we are running for is our heavenly reward for faithful service.

We must never lose sight of that. Our eternity is secure once we accept Jesus as the forgiver of our sins and the leader of our life, but our rewards will be based on how we run the race.

Our focus should be on Jesus at all times (Hebrews 12:2). The more we focus on Him, the more we will become like Him. And the more we become like Him, the more we will develop a servants heart.

Precept #6 – Be Ready For Challenges

Make no mistake about it there will be many challenges along the way.

A runner faces all kinds of challenges while running a race. Things from inclement weather and rugged terrain to injuries. But the number one quality of marathon winners is, they refuse to give up.

As you run your race, you will face challenges too. Let’s face it you have an Enemy, and He does not want you to finish.

That’s why in addition to spending quality time in the Word you need to surround yourself with brothers and sisters in the Lord.

Make sure you are involved in a good church community so you can encourage each other on to victory.

“So since we stand surrounded by all those who have gone on before, an enormous cloud of witnesses let us drop every extra weight, every sin that clings to us and slackens our pace and let us run with endurance the long race set before us. {We may feel alone, but we aren’t. We are surrounded by an army of witnesses. They have run the race of faith and finished well. It is now our turn.}” Hebrews 12:1(Voice)

Precept #7 – Savor Your Milestones

Just as you will have challenges as you run your race, you will also experience victories along the way. Be sure to commemorate them and celebrate.

One way to that is journaling. Be sure to record not only the challenges but the victories.

Review your journal often to stay encouraged and as a reminder of things to celebrate with God in praise and worship.

Run Your Race


I believe with all my heart that each of us is created to run our race and finish in victory.

But as I have written about many times we are each created uniquely. So the race I run and the race you run will not look the same.

However, if we put these seven precepts into practice, we all will finish the race and win the prize.

Renew your vision and run to win!

Are there any areas in your life where you have given up because you’ve lost sight of the bigger picture or lost your vision for the whole race? 


I’m a writer and storyteller. Each week I write about and invite readers to join me on an extraordinary adventure to discover and live the unique story God has penned for each of us.

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2 thoughts on “7 Precepts To Empower You To Win The Marathon Of Life

  1. Hi KL,
    A neat comparison—life—a marathon indeed!
    In order to finish, follow the instructions:
    “… let us run with endurance the long race set before us…”
    We often don’t; to our detriment!
    Thanks, KL!

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