That’s the thing with fitness. We have to work at it to achieve it and keep working to maintain it. It doesn’t matter how much we spend on fancy footwear, exercise equipment or gym memberships, we might feel better for having them, but if they remain unused we’re no fitter than when we started. And no amount of positive affirmations can change that fact.
For the last several months I’ve been inspired by my friend Susan at Runner Mom. Susan’s a trail runner. Susan doesn’t just talk about loving to run or wanting to run. She runs. A lot. She even makes it seem like fun. Currently she’s training for the San Antonio triathlon. (You go, girl!) Her eyes are fixed on her goal and every day she works toward achieving it.
Do you know each of us is in training for a race? Hebrews 12:1-3 sets the scene:
“…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. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus…so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”Before I went to the gym class last week, I thought I was in decent shape. The spin class showed me otherwise. Likewise the Bible offers an examination of our souls that reveals our true condition: we’re spiritually out-of-shape. Inside we might feel like we’re a pretty good and moral person.
But goodness is not the goal. Godliness is.
What holds us back is sin. And no amount of effort on our parts can rid it from our lives. Only Jesus can.
Yes, the journey is difficult. We often lose track of the course marked out for us and run one of our own making. We get distracted by the day-to-day, bogged down with worries, lulled into complacency, satisfied with mediocrity and ensnared by the world. But in the pages of God’s word we find a training manual to teach us and a coach to guide us.
To reach the finish line we must run the race. No one else can do it for us. Just like I made a choice to go to the gym, every day we make choices to train or not. Will we attend Sunday worship? Will we pray, participate in a Bible study or read the Bible? Will we encourage a fellow believer, reach out to someone in need or offer forgiveness? Will we choose our way or God’s?
We don’t need to work to achieve our salvation; in fact there is nothing we can do to earn it. But when we become believers, just like my friend Susan we’re training for a long distance race that requires determination, focus and perseverance. Our spiritual muscles go flabby if we don’t keep them fit.
Isn’t it awesome we don’t have to go it alone? Through our brothers and sisters in Christ, God gives us training partners who encourage us, cheer us on, offer a hand up when we’re down, guide us, hold us accountable, refresh our spirits and make the journey much more fun.
I know the training partners God has blessed me with are the sweetest part of my journey so far. Thank you for being there!
Together let us throw off everything that gets in our way, let us run with perseverance and let us fix our eyes on Jesus.
I hope these passages from The Message give you the shot of adrenaline you need today:
“Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!” (Hebrews 12:1-3)