This Marathon Life
Are you participating in the race? This race called life? If you are reading this, I can assure you, you are participating in one way or another.
I am always drawn to the analogy of running and life. It is rare for me not to consider the analogy one or more times during every run......at least every run that becomes challenging to press on, to finish. It seems the older I get, the more miles (inconsistent or not) I cover, the more strongly I can relate to life as a long race, as a marathon.
I have never trained for a marathon, but I have trained for and completed two half marathons (13.1 mile) and several other shorter distance races. It is hard. It requires motivation, discipline, perseverance, mental focus, endurance, and recovery among other things. It is much like life.
There is a reason the Hebrews author said, "1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."
--Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV
While my life is nothing in comparison to Christ enduring the cross, it is still life and life is full of hardship, hinderance, and sin. However, there is a prize, there is a finish line, there is a joy that comes from being disciplined, consistently training, pushing a little harder, feeling fatigued only to experience a resurgence of energy. There is a joy that comes from getting beat down in life only to experience God's mercy in bringing beauty from ashes. Sometimes the race is long and hard and painful and we want to give up, because there seems to be no end in sight, but hang on, keep pushing, keep putting one foot in front of the other, knowing that those who are in Christ will reach the finish line and there will be a rich reward.
"12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 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, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."
-Phil 3:12-14 NIV
Oh how I struggle with life wanting to take the easy route, at times. Then, I think about the moments during a run when I can barely keep going and everything in me wants to give up, but instead I take a short walk break, breath deeply, and start again, pushing ahead till I reach my destination. It is when I reach my destination that I am able to rest, to stretch, to satisfy my thirst, to prepare to do it again in the days ahead. It is at the finish when I say, "The struggle was worth it."
...train yourself to be godly. 8 For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. 9 This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance. 10 That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe.
-1 Tim. 4:7-10 NIV
7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
24 However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.
-Acts 20:24 NIV
You can read previous Journey of Faith posts HERE.
Every Friday, I post about the work God is doing or has done in my life, as I journey on this road of faith.
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