Training For Our Heavenly Race
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, 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.” Hebrews 12:1
It was harder than I imagined. There I was on the side of the lake, face hot and lungs about to explode, sweat dripping off every inch of me. I’d convinced myself I could jog the length of the dam, but my body disagreed.
“How do people do this?” I asked my sister breathlessly.
“You just have to train,” she replied. “Few people can just lace up and run a 5K out of nowhere.”
I followed her advice, and by the morning of the 5K, I’d trained enough. I completed the 3.10686 miles out of breath but victorious.
In our earthly lives, we know tenacity and determination pay off. This is true for our spiritual lives as well. Through Christ, we receive eternal salvation. But sometimes, our faith is sorely tested. We face trials and temptations. We pray for health, only to receive a scary diagnosis. We hope for relief, only to experience the devastation of a hurricane. We love others well, only to get rejected. Sometimes, it seems easier to give up than keep the faith.
But Scripture tells us to hold fast and press on. In the Book of Hebrews, the author reminds us that we are to model ourselves after Jesus, the “Pioneer and Perfecter of faith,” who endured the cross for the “joy set before Him” (Hebrews 12:2).
Throughout His life, Jesus suffered much more than most of us ever will. He was questioned, mocked, challenged, tortured, and ultimately hung on a cross by the very people He’d come to save. But He kept His eyes on God the Father and did the Father’s will. He persevered because the future goodness outweighed His present suffering.
When we set our sights on God and eternity with Him, we can find the strength to stand strong, immovable, in the middle of difficulties. Our perseverance grows as we lean harder on and grow closer to Him.
Jessica Brodie is an award-winning journalist and a member of the Wholly Loved Ministry team. She’s also an author who currently serves as the editor of the South Carolina United Methodist Advocate, the oldest newspaper in Methodism. She is the author of More Like Jesus: A Devotional Journey (2018) and editor of Stories of Racial Awakening: Narratives on Changed Hearts and Lives of South Carolina United Methodists (2018), both from her newspaper’s Advocate Press. She also writes contemporary women’s fiction, represented by Bob Hostetler of The Steve Laube Agency. Her novel The Memory Garden won the American Christian Fiction Writers’ 2018 Genesis Contest. She has a faith blog at JessicaBrodie.com
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Originally published Tuesday, 21 March 2023.