Thought- The Christian life is a Marathon and not a Sprint.
Scripture- “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 3:13-14
“being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.” Colossians 1:11-12
Insight: In day 17 of learning to apply biblical principles to our daily life, what we are referring to as Practical Christianity, let’s consider what it means to have spiritual endurance, the kind that can lead us to ultimate victory in Christ. Make no mistake about it, successfully living a victorious Christian life will require endurance. We will need to be able to overcome many obstacles and hurdles and stay in the race for which God has called us forward. There will be many times when we will not understand why we are being asked to do something that makes no sense to us. We will be tempted to turn away from our faith at these moments. There will be other times when we will ask why God is allowing certain things to come into our lives. We will be tempted to turn away from our faith during these moments as well. There will be trials and troubles as John 16:33 reminds us, for our faith in Jesus. We need to understand during these periods that are identity is in Christ, and not in our circumstances. We must have an eternal viewpoint, as Paul points out above in Philippians 3:13-14 above, or our race can easily become overwhelming.
If we have an eternal focus on the prize that awaits us in Heaven, then we can see our struggles, that create necessary endurance in us, as blessings. But if not, we can easily see them as burdens. Our enemy will want to make us see our entire faith walk as a burden, while being close to Jesus allows us to see blessings everywhere, even during our pain. How is this possible? When we realize that the endurance required to finish the race needs to be built into us. Endurance in a runner isn’t built by laying on the couch. It is built through many grueling hours of training. Running through wind, and rain, and heat. Likewise, Psalm 66:10 says “For you, God, tested us; you refined us like silver.” It is during the refining process that God builds endurance into us. We many times will not likes His methods, but it is critical that we can embrace His motives. He knows us way better than we know ourselves, and He alone knows the best way to produce the type of endurance required for each one of us to bring us safely to the finish line so that we get to “share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light,” as it says above in Colossians 1:11-12.
Prayer: Lord, help us to understand that endurance is required to run the race called out for us and help us to trust your motives in how you build our endurance even when we don’t understand your methods. Quite simply, you are God and we are not. Therefore, our job is to submit to your ways, even when we don’t like them or understand them. We pray this in Jesus mighty name, who showed us all the definition of real endurance. Amen!