Two years ago, I decided to tackle one of the items on my bucket list, running a 5K. After talking to other runners, it was suggested that if I really wanted to finish the race well, I should invest in a trainer. Before I knew it, I was training 5-6 days a week on and off the treadmill, indoors and outdoors and lifting weights. Who knew that there was so much more to building up endurance for running long distances than just running?
To run a race well and cross the finish line, you must train and build endurance. You have to condition your body and mind to prepare for the long haul and everything that comes along with it. In running a race, many obstacles and variables can distract, hinder and discourage you from continuing. Sore muscles, cold rainy weather, injuries and the distance left to run are the voices screaming at you to stop. Somewhere inside, you must listen for the whisper that says, “You can do it, just a little more, just a little longer.”
1 Corinthians 9:24-25
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.“
In life, we are also running a race. The ultimate prize is our final existence spent with the One and only almighty God for all of eternity. This is the race I want to run with everything in me, run it well and win. In this race of life we are also faced with many obstacles and variables that can distract, hinder and discourage us from finishing. Family, friends, broken dreams, lost hopes, lack of purpose and fear can be the voices that scream, “STOP”. But again, we must listen for that still small voice that whispers, “You can do it, just a little more, just a little longer.”
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.”
We must be prepared for the long haul. Training for a race includes preparing the whole body and mind to endure the hard road ahead. Training for the race of life is the same. We must put on the full armor of God to protect and encourage us for what is to come. There will be many distractions and obstacles that will try to wear us down. It is during the hardest times in our lives that we must run harder and endure longer. Then we will finish, and finish well.
As I begin to train physically and mentally for my next run, a 10K race, I will train spiritually as well knowing that, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).
So let’s lay aside every weight and run with endurance this race that is set before us.
What race are you running right now? What do you need endurance to face?