|“Let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us…”|
When I started training for a marathon, I had just returned from a medical mission trip in Honduras. This trip made me feel completely rooted in the word and blessed to have a personal relationship with Jesus. During my visit, I saw people being transformed, God’s never-failing provision to the ones who loved Him and His mercy for those who desired to know Him. After I returned, I decided to begin a journey of prayer and devotion while training for the race. Not just my race, but the FINAL race.
I have been running for years, but I’ve never been challenged to go the distance or press on, if you will, in my training or my spiritual walk until my recent awakening. God has taught me so much in the last three years about His grace, provisions, and love, and I now desire, more than ever, to personally know Him.
A few months ago God showed me this verse and it hit the spot in my spiritual journey of faith and training. In Philippians 3:12-14 Paul says, “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
Many people begin a diet or start exercising and never follow through. Many start reading a book, but never finish. Some begin training in an area, but give up when it becomes difficult. Some people are fascinated by faith for awhile and then grow bored and move on to something else that will excite them for awhile. The person who gives up misses out on the benefit that comes with the hard work. The one who gives up on exercise and diet sacrifice good health. Those who give up on education miss out on the things they could learn. Most importantly, those who give up the race for the heavenly prize miss out on the joy of walking with Christ.
I’ve been encouraged and want to encourage you to set your sights higher…press for the prize! Seek to know Him better and more fully. Jesus tells us that when we seek first the Kingdom of God, the other things we are concerned about will take care of themselves. Some of you are near the finish line. We are blessed to have this day, much less many more, so it is the time to “step up” and to finish strong. Others of you may just be getting started. Don’t give up because it is difficult. Keep working and be patient. Growth takes time. Some of you are right in the heat of the race, so don’t let down. Keep pushing. Believe me, I know it is exhausting at times, but focus on the goal and strive to finish well. May God grant that you and I might want that too.
I created this blog titled “Faithful Trainer,” to share some personal devotions and experiences with fellow runners that, I hope, will strengthen your faith during your growth and training. God has been the “Faithful Trainer” in my life who has helped me look forward and “press on” to “grasp the prize that He has set before me.” I hope you will join me in this journey.