Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us,
The Bible lets us know that life is not easy. The Christian life can be and will be even more difficult. So if you are in the middle of a trial or testing then do not be surprised. Life is rough and it is like a long, arduous race.
This phrase in Hebrews 12:1 shows us that:
1. The Christian life is like a marathon and takes endurance
2. The Christian life has a route which God is leading us
We are running a marathon and not a quick sprint.
Following Jesus is a long, difficult journey. Think of the good, sweet things in life… a good reputation, a good relationship, a good character…. Those things take time… lots of time to develop. They need to be tested, strengthened, and developed by difficult circumstances. Good, sweet, eternal qualities are the things that God is developing and strengthening in us. Therefore, it is a long distance or long term project.
Those things that come easy are typically the things that we take for granted and are not of eternal value. The trials and tears or pains and problems typically produce what is most meaningful and eternal. God wants to work in you His likeness and that is not some cheap, easy, quick project. Your life’s difficult circumstances are to train you, make you, craft you, and develop you, by God, to be more like Him.
Knowing this Christian life will take time and endurance should help us to not be surprised by the difficulties that come but where does this endurance come from? Endurance comes from God. He is our strength. Life’s circumstances strip us of the notion that we can do it on our own and reveal that we need… we need God!
God has a route planned for you. We know it will take time and endurance but where is it going?
The goal is eternal and is about us becoming more like God so the paths, hurdles, and track are all leading that direction. What does that look like in our living it? God uses physical, relational, and circumstantial hurdles to direct us toward Him. When bad health, trying marriages, or job loss are a part of our life that is the track God is using to develop and strengthen His character and presence in us.
We can say that we believe all the glories and blessings of the Bible or Gospel all we want but our belief only SHOWS when it is tested. Do you believe God loves you even when your health is failing or you lose a loved one? Do you believe that God is your rock and salvation when your marriage is falling apart or you get fired from your job? Do you believe that Jesus is King of Kings and Lord of Lords when you have struggles with your child’s behavior or a friend betrays you?
Life’s circumstances display what our faith is really made of… but they can also help us develop and grow in faith and holiness as well. Any of those horrible circumstances could knock us on our rear and disorient our devotion but it is how we respond to the failure that matters.
In order to keep running and develop that endurance…
Keep coming to God! Psalm 13 and 88 show very distraught individuals but they keep coming even though they are sad, confused, mad, rejected, and hurting. This demonstrates your faith, in that, even though you don’t see it or feel it, you still believe God may show up.
Keep reminding yourself of that large cloud of witnesses! You are not the only one who has gone through this. We have example after example of those who have gone before us and wrestled through. We see their good and bad but always God’s faithfulness.
Train and prepare! Every good athlete practices and conditions their body for the sport they are in. How does a Christian do this?
- Read, meditate, study, and memorize the Word of God- this is how you know God’s promises and presence.
- Walk with Godly people- much like trainers, godly believers can help point out weaknesses, help us develop godly practices, and always cheer us on.
- Eliminate the distractions- evaluate your entertainment and hobbies… do they cause you to put on the worldly weight or do they help you run faster and longer?