Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.Hebrews 12:1 (NLT)
Running is a sport that the general population doesn’t particularly like. Well, they might like it when they get to watch it on the Olympics, for example. However, most people don’t enjoy lacing up the shoes and going for a run each day – or ever.
Generally, people don’t like running because it’s not easy. When first starting out, they struggle, their breathing is erratic, their feet hurt, and finding a good, even pace is sometimes difficult. Often times, people quit because it is too difficult, the strain is too much.
Then, there is the other group who attack the struggle. This is the group that has my profound respect. Though they aren’t in tip-top shape, they imagine a day when they will be. It’s those that realize that they must struggle at first to attain their fitness or distance goals that succeed. In fact, my running partner a few years back was one such person. She started off not being able to go very far without stopping to catch her breath. But, over a few months, she stuck with it. Every day her distances got longer, her pace faster, and her breathing not as labored. Finally, she met her distance goal. The next day, she exceeded it.
Developing endurance is what running the race is all about. But, developing endurance doesn’t come over night. It comes with training – pushing ourselves to get stronger and faster. It’s pushing through the thoughts of quitting and continuing on toward the finish line that provides success. It takes regular effort to develop endurance. It takes goal setting to develop endurance. (I.e. I will run one mile without stopping today.)
It’s no difference when it comes to developing our faith. If we want to have a rock-solid faith that endures to the finish line, then we need to train like a runner. We need to start small, set an attainable goal (I’m going to read one chapter per day from the Scriptures). We need to practice our breathing. (I’m going to pray at least three times per day.) We need to get into a gym. (Join, and stick with, a church family.) And, when that goal has been reached, set another goal. Then another. And so on. Keep running. Don’t stop. Develop an eternal endurance.