Running a marathon is an item in my bucket list that has not come to fruition. I have friends who ran marathons for years, while I am stuck in the planning stage. I know that running a marathon is a serious business. Ask any marathon finisher and they will show you what to do to prepare for that day. You cannot sign up without even counting the cost.
Where do I sign up?
The Christian life is like a marathon. It is a race that takes time and endurance to complete. I became a Christian when I learned about my sin and its penalty, and God has a plan to save me. Then, I surrendered my heart and soul to the Lord. Jesus became the new center of my life and that was the day I signed up for this new race I am about to run.
I was looking forward to the “new me” and I couldn’t wait to change. But who was I kidding? This isn’t easy. Up until this time, the Lord is busy chipping away the attitudes and sin that will keep me from moving forward. As old habits die, new habits began to form.
These new habits included attending Bible studies, having a personal daily reading of the Bible, being accountable to a discipleship group, and worshiping on Sundays. The Lord has also put new desires in my heart: a desire to obey Him and a desire honor him with my life.
What I train for
Unfortunately, the Christian life is not all sunny and rosy. It’s challenging for the most part. I cannot count the verses that took time for me to embrace and apply in my life. Verses that talk about marriage like this one in Ephesians 5:22, “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.” Then, we find the same verse in Colossians 3:18, “Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.” I mean, why repeat it? Come on, wives be honest. Is there any wife who found this easy to obey?
This is difficult or impossible to do. But with the right heart, a Godly perspective, and by God’s grace, it is possible to obey. And there are more verses that needed extra grace to obey like forgiveness, loving others, controlling temper, and many others.
We do have the Bible as our manual to run the race of life. Yet, it is not as explicit as we want it. God does not give us specific answers to our questions like, ‘‘Where will I live?”, “Will I homeschool or send my child to a conventional school?” “What business will I venture into?” God is not a genie who is at our beck and call to answer all our requests. It all comes down to how well we know our God and if we will trust him. That is a personal question.
When the going gets tough
You’ll grow in your spiritual life and will learn more about the Lord and yourself. As you dive deeper into the things of God and your knowledge of the Bible increases, you can end up in two ways. You can either depend more on God and rely on the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the Bible. Or you can feel confident with what you know and trust yourself more. You leave God out of the picture and say, “Lord, I got this!”
We may fall into the trap of living with self-confidence and not God-confidence. There I was, running the race but I was running on empty. The people who were running with me were victims of my self-sufficiency. Then, the Lord took me out of the race for a time of refreshment. He wanted me to take a break and see the bigger picture. I was not aware I was running a different race and headed in a disastrous situation.
That revelation made me think of moving out of the church, out of the country, and out of this world. 🙂 “Uh, when’s the first trip to Mars? Sign me up, please!
I was emotionally exhausted and spiritually drained. I couldn’t take another step.
Get back in the race
The easiest thing to do was to quit. Quit the race and hide my face in some remote place. But God didn’t want me to quit. After that respite, He put right back in the race. He wanted to finish what he began in me.
God initiated that intimate relationship with me. He stirred my heart to trust Him. Then, he saved me and included me in His family. He continued to draw me closer to Him through His Spirit. Yet, even if I failed Him many times, He never gave up on me. Now, who would not get back in the race for that?
Now, I know firsthand that the Christian life is impossible. God has pruned me graciously. I had to turn my back on the sin that entangled me and weighed me down. And that step lightened my load so I can run again.
I will still face more challenges as I continue to run the race. I may not see the steps I am going to take but I am confident that Jesus will be waiting for me at the finish line. Then, I can say to him, “I have finished the race, Lord. Thank you for running with me.”
7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. 2 Timothy 4:7-8