Enduring to Finish Well

get-attachment (40)I don’t know about you but every time I think of endurance, I think of all the runners out there. In my mind, I picture the numerous colors of running shoes as they run the trails before them. I’m fortunate to have two runners in my family and find it intriguing they prefer running a cross-country course over a track. Their reasoning, a cross-country course provides stimulation to their eyes while a track is mundane and primitive in it’s circling. Also, cross-country is a different kind of competition. They race to win, yes, but most do to beat their earlier times. It’s not about winning so much as racing to finish well!

As each season rolls around, Hebrews 12:1 always is in my thoughts as I watch my children run their races. “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…”  The varying courses match that of our Christian walk. Some filled with big hills and steep valleys, others are off the beaten path, very narrow and rocky, while others are very open with nothing to block the view.

The courses filled with the big hills and steep valleys are the ones that require more of them. As they head up the steep hills, more energy, more focus, determination and strength help them to conquer the incline of the hill. As they head down the valley, they need to exercise caution as it can become slippery and they can fall.


Just as with life, we can become so easily ensnared in sin that before we know it, we are in a valley, needing rescue.


 

Discipline is also required of a runner. This discipline is not just in training but also finding another runner that can run before them setting the goal-pace set for the season. Runners call this race-pace. If they don’t have a person to help set their pace, they limit themselves to the goal set before them. How true is that for today in our Christian walks!

Our race-pace setter and goal is Christ! As we go through life, He has set the pace and is the example and cause for the path before us. I love how Hebrews 12:2 says, “We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith”. When we focus on Jesus, our minds are open to the very walk He walked on our behalf.“Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up.” Hebrews 12:3. When we fix our eyes on Jesus, the trials and terrors he endured, we continually see him obedient to the pace set before him. He never looked back but pressed forward even asking forgiveness for his tormentors.(Luke 23:34) We see our champion, Jesus, cross the finish line and lose His life so many more could live. This is not something we can do for ourselves. Hebrews 12:4, “After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin.” Christ did that for us.

Discipline is painful and not enjoyable in the least while happening, (Hebrews 12:11) just ask my children after they run 5 miles! However, just because it is painful, does not mean it’s not necessary in our training. When we dispose of it, we stunt ourselves from growth that He has intended for us, “But afterward there is a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way”. In life, we live to win, not be without, but worthy and disciplined in they ways of the world. We can’t understand that losing the paces and strides we have set for ourselves in this world means nothing and is actually our gain? Philippians 3:8-11 says, “What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in[a] Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.”

I know that my child has fallen on a few occasions during races. Although gut-wrenching, he got up and finished the race despite the humiliation and defeat he must have felt. He may have lost, but, because of where his focus directed, he pressed forward and finished the race before him. “….but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me…But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus…” What a powerful testament of endurance to finish a race you have already lost but gained in Christ Jesus! Philippians 8:12-14

Our races are all different whether filled with hills and valleys or the mundane circle of a track. As Christians, we endure the obstacles and rough terrain​ to ​allow God to “strengthen our feeble arms and weak knees. “Make level paths for our feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed​.” (Hebrews 12:12). Life has never been about running the race perfectly but all about enduring to finish well in Christ.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.
%d bloggers like this: