Marathons are challenging but who amongst us enjoys running for running’s sake?
I know there are joggers in the audience and I applaud you. However, even when I was younger and, in much better shape than I am now, I didn’t like to run unless it was while playing baseball, tag, or football with the neighborhood gang. We didn’t run just to run…there had to be an end goal in mind.
Marathon training is a BIG deal. I googled it and there are over 3.2 million online sites offering help. Everyone seems to have a “proven” plan for success. If you’re a “newbie” then you start out walking for 7 weeks. It’s supposed to get you in the habit of exercising daily. The “start running” phase is your goal for the next 7 weeks. Here’s where you incorporate several “bursts” of running during your daily walk. Then you run non-stop, run longer, and run faster…or, in my case, die trying!
For Christians, it’s a marathon
“…and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” Hebrews 12:1
As Believers, our walk with God is a marathon, not a sprint. When I was young in my faith, I skipped the walking phase & dashed immediately to the “bursts” program. I’m sure you can relate. This is where you’ve mentally made the commitment, started with the best intentions, but the “bursts,” while exhilarating, were exhausting and often led to failure. Essentially, I had one foot in the race and the other completely cemented in worldly things.
It takes a bit of time to build up endurance. The very meaning of the word suggests overcoming adversity or that a prolonged, stressful effort is required in order to reach your goal. Ugh! I choke on the “prolonged” part and am not keen about “stressful effort.” How about you?
Our faith requires conditioning as well. Daily prayers, devotional time in God’s word, meditation, and listening to His voice are critical to our success in completing the race that is set before us. If we don’t properly train, we won’t endure but will stumble and fall away from the race. (Matthew 13:21)
Keep your eye on the prize
I’ve often wondered how someone can run the 26+ miles without getting distracted by the crowds, the music, or the mental fatigue. Many runners focus internally. They pay attention to their breathing, their pacing, and the beating of their heart in order to block out the noise. Most competitors visualize crossing the finish line. They see themselves reaching the goal, experiencing victory, and resting in the confidence that they succeeded in what they set out to do. They endured!
I realize I must do the same thing as I run my race for Jesus. Laying a solid, spiritual foundation will pay off as I wobble, wipe-out, and dilly-dally along the way. Here’s how I can fire-up my chances to succeed:
- Train properly
- Load up on sustaining food
- Get in the race
- Focus internally on God’s word, and
- Visualize victory
When I do cross that final finish line, my prize will not be a paltry ribbon but a crown that awaits those who finish the race. (James 1:12) My prayer for you, dear friends, as I hope you’ll pray for me, is that you will stay the course, resist quitting, and endure!
Be a blessing,