However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me. Acts 20:24a
Lots of people start a project but few people finish well. Living our life for Christ, and seeing our God-given mission through to its completion reminds me a lot of a marathon race. Thousands may start a marathon, comparatively few finish the race.
The start of the marathon looks impressive. You can see row after row of runners 6 to 10 abreast as each is trying to find their proper pace. At this point, none of those runners imagine themselves not performing well. Each desires to finish, some dream of winning. None imagine themselves quitting early, but it doesn’t take long before the large group of runners begins to spread out into smaller packs, and as time goes by,fatigue sets in, the head starts throbbing, and muscles start cramping. It doesn’t take too long before some of the runners are dropping out of the race.
The Christian life is a lot like a marathon, it’s a long race and not a sprint. Just like marathon runners, many Christians start out well, but considerably fewer finish well. When we become born-again, we all start out with the same equipment. We are convicted of our sin and we believe in God’s grace by the same Holy Spirit. We are forgiven by the same sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross, we are empowered by the same Holy Spirit, and the same resurrection.
So, what makes the difference? We all started with the same equipment, so what was it that makes some able to see their race through to the end, while others fall by the wayside?
I believe that there are only two questions that will determine whether we finish well.
How well did you train?
How well did you persevere?
If you learn to train yourself well, and if you learn to persevere well, then you will certainly finish well.
Training well means that you work diligently to develop certain habits in your life:
- Read God’s word regularly. Seek to apply and obey God’s word and precepts in your daily life and decisions (Matthew 7:24-27; James 1:22-23).
- Pray daily (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
- Attend church and worship services and cell meetings faithfully (Hebrews 10:25)
- Seek to discover how God has gifted you and use those gifts to support the body of Christ.
- Become Faithful in Tithing and Giving
- Humble thyself with fasting and Prayer
- Diligently apply God’s word and precepts to help you overcome your personal weaknesses and difficulties (e.g. Forgiveness)
- Develop a habit of sharing your personal testimony and inviting people to come into Christ.(Evangelism)
The idea of perseverance denotes the act of steadfastness, patiently persisting and to firmly adhere as we grow in our Christian faith. Perseverance is one of those qualities we will need as we train for Christian excellence. Of all the Christian habits, perseverance is probably the most difficult to develop. When running a marathon, a runner will often come to the point of “hitting the wall.” That’s the point in the race when the runner is exhausted, every muscle seems to be sending pain signals through the brain,and his every logical instinct is to quit.
There are times in the Christian life where we feel like we’re hitting the wall too, it just looks a little bit different. In the Christian life hitting the wall can look like this:
❗I’ve prayed and talk to God about my temper for years and nothing seems to change.
❗ I’ve prayed for years for God to change my spouse, I’m in an unhappy marriage. I need to get out.
❗I’ve prayed to God to help expand my business but everything seems to be in a standstill.
❗Why isn’t God helping me to improve my grades. I’ve done all I could..
In the Christian life, getting weary or fears of failure can discourage us or distract us from what God wants us to achieve.
But, how we behave when we are tempted to quit will make all the difference between winning and losing.
The simple message is this: what ever your struggle is today, what ever you are trying to overcome, please don’t quit. If you’ve tried and failed before, then get up and start again. God wants to give you a fresh start. Commit your struggle to God. Ask Him to carry you for awhile, but don’t you quit. Don’t give up! Keep on training yourself for godliness, and keep on learning to persevere.
So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9.
God bless you for reading.
Written by: Justice Annobil