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Life Is A Marathon

Mar 2 2012

The Christian life is much more a marathon than it is a sprint. God wants us to be endurance runners – the kind of people who will run the whole stretch of our race and finish victorious at the end. That being so, it is important that we learn to pace ourselves.

Remember what Paul said about running to win in the race of life? He then goes on to say, “You’ve all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You’re after one that’s gold eternally. I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. No sloppy living for me! I’m staying alert and in top condition. I’m not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself” (1 Corinthians 9:24–27, MSG).

Paul emphasizes the importance of training and discipline. His vivid description of running to win in life inspired me to do some research on what makes a marathon runner tick. I studied their preparation, their training techniques, mental attitudes and lots of other aspects of running and discovered that the very principles that are foundational for running a marathon in the natural are equally applicable to running our spiritual race.

As time has passed, I have seen many people who started this faith adventure with me drop out of their race. The absence of disciplined training in their lives meant that they didn’t have the spiritual stamina to keep going when the going got tough. Many people have been defeated by disappointment, discouragement, distraction, disillusionment, or disease, and because of this, they have dropped out of the race.

But I believe we were all created to run our race and finish our course, and in order to do so we need to have vision for every area of our lives. Having a clear picture of what the race of life is all about, where we are heading, and what we are likely to encounter along the way will sustain us for the entire duration. Keeping the end in sight will help us keep going when things are tough – when we are struggling over rough terrain or laboring up hills. Proverbs 29:18 in the King James Version says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Many people do not finish their race simply through a lack of long-term vision. At the first sign of opposition, difficulty or adversity, they simply give up.

Pause for a moment and reflect on the following: are there any areas in your life where you have given up because you’ve lost sight of the bigger picture, or lost your vision for the whole race? Maybe you have stalled in your spiritual life and you are no longer moving forward. Maybe you have lost your vision for life emotionally, physically, relationally or financially.

If so, identify the point at which you gave up, renew your vision, and pick up the pace again. Remember, in order to have the right perspective, you need to:

Visualize the whole race.
Be ready for challenges.
Be patient!