I am going at my own pace on a path that is designed for me and nobody else; therefore, my only competition is the person I was yesterday.

I am going at my own pace on a path that is designed for me and nobody else; therefore, my only competition is the person I was yesterday.

 Please Note ~ As you progress through each affirmation, please have your Bible with you, and read each passage as you go, this way you might experience each word to its fullest extent. I recognize the readability is affected by all the references, but the reason for them is to point you back to the Bible for your own benefit. 


“I am going at my own pace on a path that is designed for me and nobody else; therefore, my only competition is the person I was yesterday”. 


1 Corinthians 9:24-26
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air.


Life is a race against time, and the ‘finishing line’ signifies physical death. Just like in a 100m dash, it is normal to be aware of the person next to you; however, it becomes a problem when you take your focus off of what is in front of you, and look around for the other runners. This will slow you down, or worse yet, steer you off course. In the race of life, “looking upon others” can easily lead to envy. In fact, the word ‘envy’ in Latin is invidere which means: “to look upon (with malice).” When others become our gauge for success or comparison in life, we won’t get to discover our own true identity in Christ, value or worth. We distract our minds away from our purpose, in the never-ending cycle of appeasing what can never be appeased. 



Proverbs 27:20
 Sheol and Abaddon are never satisfied, and never satisfied are the eyes of man. 



Proverbs 20:12 says that “the LORD has made the hearing ear and the seeing eye”. In classic peripeteia, Proverbs 27:20 and Proverbs 20:12 are foils of each other. Matthew 6:22-23 says that the “eye is the lamp of the body” and Psalms 119:105 states that God’s “Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path”. However, if we replace God’s Word in Psalms 119:105 with our own carnal thoughts (Col. 2:18-19, Rom. 8:6), and we choose not to ask God to open our “eyes of understanding” (Eph. 1:18) and open our ears to hear His Word (Matt. 13:23), our paths become more and more unclear to us (Prov. 4:19). We need the “hearing ear and the seeing eye” that God has made for us (Prov. 20:12) because in our own eyes, we see our carnal ways as pure and right (Prov. 16:2). 


The only runner in the race of life that is worthy of that everlasting crown is Jesus Christ, because he is the “forerunner”; the “author and finisher of our faith” (Heb. 6:20, 12:1-2) and it is only His name that provides salvation (Acts 4:12). Other names might provide a perishable wreath on Earth (Gen. 41:40-42) but the only one that can graciously give that imperishable wreath is God, through his Son, Jesus Christ (John 14:6).  


I truly believe that if you have a dream or a longing to use your gift, talent or skill to help humanity, you can ask God for wisdom (James 1:5-6) to help you manifest it into this reality–  no matter how big or unachievable it may seem in your mind (Isa. 55:8-9, 1 Cor. 3:9). This, after all, is the reason He sent His Son Jesus Christ to earth-- as an incomparable act of grace and love (John 3:16-17). This is so that we not only have a chance at eternal life, but also to be “lights of Christ” in a dark world (John 8:12), so long as we abide in His Word and bear fruit (Eph. 5:9, John 15:4). When we are born again, Christ will reveal to us our purpose and function within the Body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:14-20); in other words, the way in which you might use your gift in order to bring Him glory (John 14:13-14).


I also believe that each of us has a problem or a stronghold (Rom. 3:23) in our own lives, that, when we fully surrender to Christ and ask Him to help us overcome that problem, He will strengthen us with the proper tools we need (Eph. 6:12-18), so that as we do slowly heal, gain ground and grow as a result of endurance (James 1:3), we will be able to leave a “trail” of advice and assistance (2 Cor. 1:3-4) to those who are encountering similar trials and obstacles (1 Cor. 10:13).


The Latin root for the word “person” is persona, which is “a mask; a false face made of wood or clay worn by characters in a play or drama”; related to personare “to sound through”. 


God made Adam from the “dust of the ground” (Gen. 2:7) and through his disobedience in the Garden of Eden, sin became alive in us. As a result, the heart became the “most deceitful thing” (Jer. 17:9) and as Proverbs 27:19 states “the heart of the man reflects the man”, thereby, giving a layer of “false masks” that form the human being. Jesus Christ took the form of a man, so that when He died and then resurrected, His blood signified salvation, restoring His image within us (1 Cor. 15:45). This image of Christ that is restored in us makes it possible to “peel off” the layers of false masks that form our identity (2 Cor. 5:4, John 8:31-32). 


Each one of us has our own weight to carry, and that is the “sin which clings so closely” (Heb. 12:1-2). Becoming a born-again follower and believer of Christ doesn’t mean one is immediately free from sin or is instantly holier than a person who isn't a follower. Ecclesiastes 3:8 states that there is a time to hate and a time for war. This is a war that everyone has to encounter. Just as 2 Corinthians 10:4 mentions, this is a war that is not against any people or nation on Earth. It is a spiritual one, opposing the “spiritual wickedness” (Eph. 6:12) that is after every living soul– no matter their creed, ethnicity or social status– as mankind has one common enemy (John 10:10). 


I believe that God appoints a time for each of us (Acts 17:26-28) to teach us how to hate our own indwelling sins (Rom. 7:18-23) or the “plank in our own eye” (Matt. 7:5). He equips us with His armor (Eph. 6:10-18), so that we are prepared to “fight the good fight of faith” (1 Tim. 6:12), which, by extension, requires us to uproot strongholds of darkness within our own hearts (Jer. 1:9-10). This way the seed of faith can grow in our hearts without being choked out (Matt. 13:22). 1 Corinthians 9:7 says “who serves as a soldier at his own expense?”. This means that God will reveal more of His will for your life as you fight the good fight of faith with perseverance (Gal. 6:9). He will reward you by unfolding more of His Word (Ps. 119:130) which will match the season of life that you are personally experiencing (Prov. 15:23) and it will be for His glory and your benefit (Isa. 55:10-11).

More to come, 


Michael Apa


(and thank you to my most beautiful wife, Meliah, for all her hard work on the web design and social media graphics)  


Works Cited

Mish, Frederick C. Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary. 11th ed., Merriam-Webster, Incorporated, 2008.

The Bible. English Standard Version, 2016th ed., Crossway, 2008.


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