One of the metaphors the Bible uses for describing the Christian life is the metaphor of running a race. I have looked into the Scriptures and have noted several different places in the New Testament where the metaphor of a race is used to define and describe Christian living (see Hebrews 12:1 and 1 Corinthians 9:24-27).
The Christian race takes effort. You know who the serious runner is – it is the well-trained runner. Anyone who is preparing for a marathon who gets up and runs around the block comes in and eats a stack of pancakes with a cup of syrup and says, “I am going to run a marathon!” is not a serious runner. Spiritual training is not always easy, but it is always beneficial. The Bible says “...train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” (1 Timothy 4:7-8).
There is a difference between trying to be godly and training to be godly. How can we tell if a Christian is serious about running the race? What’s their attitude about training? Do they want to learn more about Jesus? Do you find them praying, and trusting, and serving God and His people? Are they wanting to know more and more and more about their Savior? Are they exercising energy for the kingdom of God?