Hello Loved One of God,

Recently we witnessed the Boston Marathon, held annually for 114 years, and which roughly 27,000 runners compete for the prize of $150,000 awarded to the first-place winner. Can you imagine the energy and passion it would take to finish this race, let alone to finish in first place? Maybe you are a runner, or have even ran in the Boston Marathon, then you would know, or at least have an idea of, how much of your life would be devoted to running with this level of endurance. And I would bet that the prize money is in a distant second place as the motivation for the endurance needed to finish first. The Grand Prize is the knowledge that “I finished, and ran well“.

Now endurance is a concept that is uncomfortable for me.  There are a number of things in my life that I’ve not completed because they are too hard, or that I feel I am not good at, so I have given up pretty quickly. People say that the right thing to do is to keep trying, but I have not always wanted to work that hard. Shame on me, I guess. You can’t see me but I am hanging my head in shame.
Now, I’ve forgotten over the years that the Bible, God’s Truth, likens the Christian life to a marathon. I say that I’ve forgotten because I catch myself looking at my life daily and wondering how I “did” that day before God. I sometimes go to bed at night feeling discouraged because I didn’t live like I should have, or wasn’t good enough that day. Thinking like that shows that I am treating my life in Christ like a sprint, a life in which I run in short bursts, hoping for fast rewards. I may not feel that I’ve run very well that day so I start again the next day,  so on, and so on. I get exhausted.

But the Bible says…      “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses,   we must get rid of every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and run with endurance the race set out for us,  keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith”. Endurance is the key here. Patience, practice, thought, planning, all this is important to live closely with Jesus every day. Forgiveness takes preparation and desire, patience in suffering can not be manufactured as needed, hope in our routine, day to day, lives is a heart attitude that has to be built slowly, over time. The most  important thing to remember, though, is that these virtues can never be attained apart from God’s strength in you. Only He can enable us to live like this, or, more accurately, to live like Him. Now, as the marathon winner’s heart’s desire is to finish, having run well, so it is with the Christian. The “prize” that the bible speaks of for God’ children, is, ultimately, to have finished their “race” on earth, having run faithfully, purposely, and with endurance. We all are very aware of the obstacles that face us everyday, betrayal, hurt, sickness, exhaustion, busyness, or financial struggles.  To the Child of God, in God’s strength, facing these things with hope in God’s faithfulness, will be used to form us into  the Image of Jesus in the coming days. That’s why the bible says”fixing our eyes on Jesus…”, He is our prize, His joy in our life as we enter His presence, with faithfulness as our legacy on earth.  What a goal to drive us in life. To know that we are so much more than an individual, forgotten, or unnoticed, as we travel through this life.

Dear One, to begin this new journey of hope and purpose, striving for this prize, you must give all to Jesus. Come to Him, offering nothing because you have nothing to offer, recognize your failure in life, your sin, your grip on all that you cling to for “happiness”, and be His. Let Him take over and create out of you something so beautiful that you could never believe it if you didn’t experience it. He is doing that in me, and, believe me, I had nothing to offer, just my messed up life, and wasted self energy.

Please respond in the comments section if you would like prayer, or a listening ear… May the Love of God overwhelm you, and claim you.

I’ll talk about this more soon.