Our life is like a long distance run or race and we’re all participating in it.
Over the years, I’ve competed in distance races from between 400 yards and 50 miles. In the 50 mile event, I ran along the American River in California for most of the way. The first 30 miles or so were on an asphalt path. It was smooth and very, very gradual in it’s steepness. We were running up the river so there was a slight grade when we were on the path. Eventually, the route made its way off the asphalt and onto a dirt path. This narrow path was often rocky, crossed over many small spots of water and was uneven – very unlike the smooth asphalt. One could have easily stumbled and fallen. The race of our life is so much longer than than the longest ultra-marathon run. And it’s like the uneven path that I described above. There are many opportunities to become tripped up as we live in this world day to day.
Jesus and Your Faith
The writer of Hebrews reminds us that the best way to run this race of life is by keeping our eyes on Jesus. Jesus is the person on whom our faith depends from the very start of our race until the end. Our race on earth will end only when we die or when Jesus comes to take us away in the rapture, whichever comes first. It is only by keeping focused on him that we have any chance of living the kind of life that God calls each of us to live. Jesus tells us that he came into the world so that all people could have an abundant and full life. (John 10:10) Paul somewhat describes what a full life looks like when he lists the fruits of the spirit in Galatians 5:22-23. These “fruits” become evident when the Spirit of Jesus is manifested in our lives.
As we regularly reflect on what Jesus did on the cross so that our sins can be forgiven – which makes it possible for us to have a relationship with God – we are encouraged and don’t get as weary in our race. We also need to stay close to or abide in Jesus so that we can draw strength from him and so that his Spirit is reflected in our life. (John 15:5) I have identified this as an essential Spiritual Exercise for a healthier life.
Each step you take, every conversation you have, each glance you take – all of your actions and behaviors – is a part of your race here on earth. You can only run and finish your race well if you keep your eyes on Jesus.
Questions to Reflect On
How frequently are you reading the Bible as a way to keep connected with Jesus?
How evident are the fruits of the spirit in your life?
Are you regularly being “tripped” up by the same sin? If so, what will you do to get back on a ‘smoother path’ in the race of your life?