I love the following verse from Hebrews.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…” — Hebrews 12:1 NIV
I guess you could say I’m retired from running these days. And I could probably stand to lose a few of the pounds that have accumulated around my midsection over the last few years. But, hey, couldn’t we all?
While I’ve never truly learned how to effectively lose weight and keep it off, one thing I have had the opportunity to begin to learn is perseverance in daily life. I have been blessed by God in that respect! Over the last year, I’ve begun regularly attending church again and even preaching and teaching on occasions.
I don’t say that to pat myself on the back, but to hold myself accountable and encourage those who may be struggling with those spiritual disciplines that are so important. These include daily Bible reading, prayer, and fellowship with other disciples of Christ. Essentials, one and all!
Formerly, I was someone who regarded life a philosophical sprint. After all, life is short, right? I thought I had four – maybe five – good decades left on this earth and that I would put them to good use by having as much fun as possible as quickly as I could. But today, I’ve had to backpedal on that way of thinking.
We must remember that our perspective is different from God’s. While our earthly lives are short relative to eternity, running through existence in a mad dash is no way to go about life. Instead, I’ve personally found a steady saunter for Christ is much more suitable.
Sprinters, while incredible athletes, fire on all cylinders for a short distance and then inevitably tire out. Distance runners, on the other hand, train and discipline themselves daily to run slowly and surely for long distances and long periods of time. We should approach our spiritual walk with Christ in the same manner.
Rather than attempting to do everything in one day, try slowing down. Look at each day as an opportunity to do the best with what has been given to you. Work hard, read the Word, pray, and grow a little closer to the Lord. But pace yourself!
The Apostle Paul understood the importance of this attitude of perseverance. A tent-maker by trade, Paul worked hard and put in his best effort at serving God by traveling and preaching the Gospel. But, as we see in Hebrews, he also looked at his ministry as a long distance race. Think of a slow burn, not a flash in the pan.
We are indeed surrounded by many witnesses. When fellow Christians or even unbelievers look at your life, what do they see? A spiritual sprinter on the verge of tuckering themselves out, or a steady, stalwart defender of the faith? It’s not too late to make an adjustment – mid-stride!
A prayer for today:
“Lord, help us to remember that our life is a long distance race, with Your presence as the ultimate prize. Be with us as we press on towards You with perseverance in our daily activities. Allow us to be the best workers we can be – not for ourselves, but for You. Free us from the sin that does so easily entangle. Remind us of your grace and the joy that can be found in You. Allow this joy to energize us as we live for you among many witnesses. Amen.”