We are surrounded by a great cloud of people whose lives tell us what faith means. So let us run the race that is before us and never give up. We should remove from our lives anything that would get in the way and the sin that so easily holds us back. Hebrews 12:1 (NCV)

I’ll admit it. I’m not a runner. Not that I have anything gainst people that run. I have several friends that are runners and they seem nice enough. Actually I rather admire their commitment to the sport. I have one friend in particular that lives about ten miles outside of town. One night I saw him running on the local High School running track. An hour later he was still running. As I headed home I saw him running along the highway. It was then I realized he’d run into town to run on the track and then ran home.

He talked to me one time and said he was really hurting. He’d run two marathons in one weekend. “I won’t do that again.” I thought: “Neither would I because I’d be dead after the first one!”

I prefer walking myself. When you walk you can take your time. People who walk smile and say hi to people they meet. Runners grimace and rarely great you as they glide past you. So, even though I know there are many valid points to running, I still prefer to walk.

Having said all that, the Apostle Paul likens the Christian walk to more of a run. The writer to the Hebrews implores us to run the race and never give up. The word ‘run’ in Greek is the word ‘agon’. It’s the same word we get the word agony from.

Living for Christ was never meant to be easy. Although I’m not a runner (did I mention that already?) I know that to be a runner you need to start slow, working up your distance, speed and endurance. I know that you need to pay attention to the signals your body is sending you; pay attention to your limitations; know what you can do and what you can’t do to your body; learn to pace yourself and not take on more than you can handle; learn to push through the tough stuff. In short, running is hard work, but the benefits far outweigh the pain.

One more thing I know about running (actually walking too) is that it’s far easier to quit running habits than it is to establish running habits. Habits take a long time to develop, but they are well worth it. That’s true in our physical lives, but it’s also true in our spiritual lives.

Too often we don’t establish good habits in our lives because we give up too soon. We don’t have the commitment to push on. We can accomplish most anything in our lives (exercise, Spiritual disciplines, eating habits, etc.) if are truly committed to it.

If you truly believe your Spiritual life is important to you and that you want to grow closer to God, then you need to make it a priority. Work hard at it. Never give up. Know your limitations and what keeps you from meeting with God and avoid those pitfalls. Runners in a marathon come to a place they call ‘hitting a wall’. It’s that point where the body tells you that you can’t go on. It’s lying to you. You CAN go on. You just need to push through it.

The same goes for our spiritual lives. You may be hitting a wall right now in your walk with God. You may hear the voices telling you that you can’t do this anymore, that walking with God isn’t worth it. Don’t listen. Push on! Finish the race and finish strong! It’s well worth the agony.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, you showed in your life how important it is to keep focused on a goal. I struggle daily to meet the demands of my life. I give up too easily and then fight the guilt I have for quitting. Empower me with your Spirit to push on when the going gets tough. Amen.

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