Losing weight and dedicating your life to follow Jesus is like running a marathon. We all want a short sprint. We want something that is efficient and over quickly. The faster we reach the finish line, the better. Sometimes we forget that life is a journey and a training ground. It takes an incredible amount of training miles and time just to make it to the starting line of the marathon, and many quit before even getting to this point.
I returned and saw under the sun that – the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to men of understanding, nor favor to men of skill; but time and chance happen to them all. (Ecclesiastes 9:11)
This race doesn’t go to the fastest. Our battle is not won by the strongest, or the wise. Time happens to us all. This is a marathon. We need to pace ourselves, realize that we do not win or overcome by our own strength. Nor can we believe that we’ll be able to “think” our way out of the sin we’re in.
That’s the one that I’m most guilty of. I try my best to “think” my way out of things – but usually I over “think” my way into doing what I know I shouldn’t do. But the riches of His grace are not given to me because of my own understanding. I need to forsake my constant search for loopholes, and instead trust the designer of this way of grace.
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, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right and of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2)
Run with endurance. Like a physical marathon, our ultimate goal is to finish well, to remain injury-free, and be changed in the end. We want to finish stronger, wiser, and having the accomplishment of success so that we hear those words: “Well done, good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:21)
Even so, there are many who battle against their training, and never make it to the starting line. There are more of us who get excited by the start of the race – when we get those tingles and can’t wait to begin – but by mile ten or twelve, we wish we’d never gotten into this mess. It’s easier to start the race than it is to stay the course. We forget about what awaits us at the finish line and start to think about how hungry we are, how thirsty, how much our feet hurt, and how many more miles are left to go.
We take our eyes off our God and we start to lose hope. And we fear we’ll never make it. Fear is when we take our eyes of Jesus and start seeing all the obstacles in our way.
Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”
So He said, “Come.”
And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on water to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out saying, “Lord, save me!” (Matthew 14:28-29)
Peter was already walking on water! He was halfway there. Then he took his eyes off Jesus, looked at all the obstacles, and became afraid. That is what we do. We get halfway there and stop looking at Jesus. We forget that we are running this race, walking on water by His power, alone.
We start to feel like we’re the strong ones and that we’re doing this amazing thing ourselves. That is until we see the obstacles and realize that we can’t do this. We can’t finish. We can’t be walking on water. We become afraid and we start to sink.
This is where that training comes in. We need to continue: One foot in front of the other, eyes back on Jesus. Cry out to Him and realize that this race is not our own. Endure and Finish, that is my prayer for today. That I may run this race well and keep me eyes focused on the one who makes me strong enough and wise enough to keep running.