When I was in college, the cross-country team ran on the golf course. The officials for the race would go out ahead, placing flags on the course to show the runners where they were supposed to run. A certain color indicated “left turn.” Another color meant “right turn.” Another said “straight ahead.”
There was a race marked out for the runners; and if they had any intention of taking home a medal, they had to follow the race course marked out. You couldn't decide, “Boy, this is a six-mile race, but I've only got four miles in me this morning. I'm going to take a short cut. I hope nobody minds.”
You can't look at a particular hill and say, “That hill just looks nasty. I'm not going to tackle that one today. I'll just skip around it.” You have to run the race marked out for you.
So it is in this Christian life. God has gone before you. He knows your end from your beginning. He knows all the days of your life. In his great foreknowledge, he has gone ahead of you and planted these flags ahead of you. And the Scripture says, “Run with perseverance the race marked out for you.”
— Craig Brian Larson, “Strong to the Finish,” Preaching Today, Tape No. 155.
See: 1 Co 9:24; Php 2:16; Heb 12:1.