My sophomore year of High School I decided to join the track team. I was never known to be much of a runner. One day Coach “Doc” who happened to be my Driver’s Ed teacher asked me to join his track team. I went home and weighed my options and came to the decision that it would be a good thing for me. It would be a good way to stay in shape, meet new people, and challenge myself in new areas. My first day out I clearly recall Coach Doc saying, “Langford you should be in good shape since you just got out of basketball. Why don’t you hit the road with the exchange students and get six miles in.” SIX MILES! KEEP UP WITH THE EXCHANGE STUDENTS! I quickly began to reconsider my decision but was taught to follow through on my commitments. Plus, I didn’t want to fail Driver’s Ed.
As the three of us began running; I remember wondering if I would be able to finish. Coach Doc knew that I would be a distance runner and not a sprinter. He also knew for me to be effective at the half mile, mile, and two mile competitions that I would need to run more than those distances in order to build up my endurance and conditioning. While running, I found the exchange students (who WERE runners) quickly found a nice steady pace in which to maintain a good speed but not exert themselves too quickly physically. I followed their lead and made the six miles without much trouble at all.
When it comes to our walk with Jesus, I feel that many times people view it as a sprint. They feel that they can just run as fast as they can and will have plenty of commitment and devotion to carry them through. Unfortunately for them, our walk with Christ is not a sprint but it is a marathon. It is about remaining faithful until death (Revelation 2:10). Therefore it is my intent to give you three principles which will help you and you continue to run on your journey to Heaven.
In Hebrews 11 we have what is commonly regarded as the spiritual Hall of Faith. Within this hall we read of numerous men and women who displayed loyalty and faith during times of hardship (Galatians 3:24). What an encouragement is it to be able to read about the undertakings and godly decisions which were made that were pleasing in the eyes of God. However; we have other places in which we can look. Lord willing, you can look around; to your family, your friends, your church and be able to witness faithful living right in front of you. It is imperative to we look and seek godly men and women who can aid us in our journey.
Lighten Your Load
I can recall being given my first high school track uniform. I am still looking for the rest of it. I was embarrassed beyond words the first time I put on that lightweight piece of cloth they called a uniform. Can you imagine trying to run a race with heavy sweatpants? Can you fathom how slow your times would be if you added an additional 5 or 6 pounds worth of clothing? During the very first Olympics, the runners wore nothing because they did not want anything holding them back. A full marathon is a full 26.2 miles. Can you imagine carrying a heavy object? Spiritually speaking we have some things which we need to let go. Paul states in Philippians 3:12 – “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.” We too need to lighten our load and press on through our journey.
Look to Jesus
It is a proven fact that the quickest and shortest way to go from point A to point B is a straight line. When running, you must keep your eyes open. You must visualize the point you want to reach and plot a path to get you there. Sadly, the reality is that we will have obstacles appear from time to time which can slow us down. The good news is we are not alone. Jesus had many obstacles placed in His way. In Matthew 4 we have an epic battle between good and evil. We read about the spiritual swordfight taking place between our Lord and Satan. Satan is doing any and everything within his power to put obstacles in Christ’s way. However; each time Christ replies, “It is written.” Jesus knew and applied the Word of God to help overcome to obstacle of temptation. In Matthew 13:56-57 we learn that Jesus faced the obstacle of rejection…by His own family. I am blessed to have a great family who loves each other and the Lord very much. I feel for those who have family members and close friends who do not know God nor do they attempt to know Him. They constantly and consistently reject Jesus.
I could share example after example of people trying to force Jesus to fail in accomplishing all that God set forth for His Son to accomplish. The great news is that He did fulfill all that the Father requested of Him. What a perfect example we have; to look unto Jesus the author and perfector of our faith. (Hebrews 12:2) When times look bleak; Look to Jesus. When we don’t know how we will finish; Look to Jesus. When we find ourselves in trouble; Look to Jesus!
May it be said of us as it was confidently and boldly stated by Paul, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7)