Along any good race route, there are markers to keep people on the route along with many aid stations for water, Gatorade and energy gels. There is first aid if you have an emergency or an injury and there are facilities for potty breaks. Great strategic racers know how to best take advantage of the race route and all the stations along the way. They always have focus on their breathing, on their time and on their physical status as they are running.
Guess what? Along our race route as Christians, we have those markers and aid stations, too!
We have church services, serving in ministry, Bible study, fellowship, small groups, accountability groups and so many other opportunities to keep us on the path, keep our energy up, and keep our lives filled with the Spirit. We have Christian counselors and wonderful pastors for when we are hurting so much it could take us out of the race. We have the gift of Holy Spirit-inspired repentance to turn away from our sin, along with confession to God through Jesus Christ. We have reconciliation by His blood and forgiveness of sin as He washes us white as snow! Our focus is on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. (Hebrews 12:1-3)
(I wanted to exclamation point every single one of those sentences in the last paragraph!)
Why are we so immature sometimes? Why do we forget where our strength is found? We forget Whose race it is that we are running–Who it is that sponsors us!
Why do we run past the aid stations?
Why do we leave the race route?
Where do we focus?
I’ll be transparent.
I think I can do it in my own strength.
I think I know the way by myself.
I focus on my own abilities.
There are times when I am riding above the waves, feeling confident and competent to do what it is front of me. I can DO this, I tell myself. I can DO this! I got this one, God!
And in a split second (when God needs to humble me!), He shows me I am being idle and falling short all over the place: as a spouse, a parent, a child, a friend, and a servant worker and ambassador for the Kingdom of Christ. I go underwater as I am caught up in the torrent of my own self-righteousness.
NEWS FLASH, Church Girl: You don’t have what it takes to do it on your own.
Now I’m in over my head; I’m deep underwater in the dark and trying to swim furiously–my arms are pulling hard, my legs kicking, straining to reach the shimmering light at the surface. I wonder if I will emerge from the depths before I run out of breath when I remember the Lord never leaves me or forsakes me. He sustains me and I feel a surge rush through me, catapulting me upwards.
Gasping for air, I finally break the surface. Gulping in deep drafts of oxygen, I fill my lungs, infuse my blood; my heart pumps rapidly then slows to normal. Here is light and air aplenty.
My strength is renewed as I rest in my Father’s arms, knowing I only made it through this deep dive because I had to completely trust the LORD once again for the work He has placed in front of me.
He is my sole reason for running this race. He is the finish line, the reason for it all.
And in the end, I have to continually go back to this fact: Jesus is the Answer to Everything.
What is it you are depending on to finish this race? Why are you running in the first place?Have you slowed to a walk or left the race completely? Watch this video from our friends at MovingWorks called “Run The Race” to be encouraged and strengthened to keep running! (Click HERE.)