Acts 20:24 (NKJV)
When I was in high school I was involved in the sport of cross country. This is a race of three miles that was usually run over a course through fields and forests and not on a track, where running events are most often held. Running a three-mile race and the training required for it can be challenging and not everyone who starts the sport continues with it. I remember times where I wanted to quit, especially when the weather or other conditions made the running more difficult. But, like all the other runners, I knew that if I quit I would not finish the race and the whole point was to finish, and to finish well.
In the Book of Acts, Paul compared his work for God to a race. In 2 Timothy 4:7 Paul told Timothy that he had finished his race, Paul had successfully fulfilled the will of God for his life. This is the goal that all of us should have as well. We don't want to just start our race for God or only run a part of it. Our goal should be like Paul that one day we too can say that we have finished our race. Paul also knew that the race he ran would be difficult, and we must also realize that just because we are a child of God it does not mean that every part of our race for God will go smoothly, but we keep going anyway.
Some people think that because Paul was an apostle that it is only he and other spiritual leaders, like pastors, who have a race to run for God. That is one of the reasons so many do not finish their race, they don't even know that they are in one! No matter who we are, we have a race to run. We must recognize that serving God and doing His will is how we run our race. We can find the guidelines for our course in God's Word, and the Holy Spirit has been given to us to help us successfully run our race. We need to be like Paul and be determined to finish our course and fulfill the will of God for our life.