An Endurance Race CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
The life of faith is like an endurance race. You must endure:
The Conditioning – v.1 – you must lay aside the weight and the sin that so easily besets you and you have to prepare for a long race that must be run patiently. Many quit the race at the start because the conditioning is too hard.
The Cross – v.2 – a disciple of Jesus Christ must take up his cross. At first, you aren’t going to like the cross. But in time, you will become accustomed to the fact that the cross is your way of life. Look what Paul said about the cross in Gal 2:20, 6:14. He found a joy set before him in it like Jesus did. After all, Jesus is the one who authored and finished our faith. Many Christians quit the race here because of the shame of the cross.
The Contradiction – v.3 – Jesus died for the benefit of the very people who put him on the cross. What a contradiction. And you will be running this race for the benefit of sinners who will despise you for trying to help them. What a contradiction. Many Christians quit here because they are wearied with the sinners.
The Contest – v.4 – You are in a foot race against your opponent, sin, and sin is trying to beat you. It will wait until you are weak and weary and then it will try to get you to quit. The devil is behind much of this and he is a very clever opponent. Many Christians quit the race because they wear out against sin before their resistance succeeds.
The Chastening – v.5-7 – The Lord wants to get the most out of you in your race and so he is going to chasten you at a time when you think he ought to be patting you on the back. Horses in a race are whipped down the home stretch. They get to rest when the race is finished. Many Christians quit here because they get mad at their Savior for chastening them when they think he ought to be treating them as royalty.
Conclusion: This endurance race will take you all the way to your limit spiritually, mentally, physically and emotionally. Don’t quit. RUN all the way to the finish line. Jesus did. Paul did. You can!