“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. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:1-3
I recently joined a group that’s training for a mini triathlon. We started with swimming, which seemed simple enough. After all, Michael Phelps made it look easy winning all those medals in Beijing. My first day in the pool went pretty well, and though I was exhausted, I felt pretty confident at the end of the workout.
The next day, though, I woke up very sore, and when I went to swim again, I wasn’t sure I was going to make it! I couldn’t get the breathing right, and I was swallowing water and struggling to keep up. Suddenly swimming didn’t seem so easy, and I began to wonder if I would ever get any better.
Like my swimming experience, walking with God can seem so easy, when we’re watching someone else do it. But when we actually start trying to discipline ourselves and follow Him, we begin to realize just how challenging it can be, and giving up can become very tempting. The great thing is that, unlike athletic training, we’re not on our own—we have not only the perfect example of Christ’s life, but also the power of His Spirit at work within us to give us the strength to carry on when things get tough.
The choice is ours—will we “fix our eyes on Jesus” and keep going, or get distracted and give up? It’s a decision I have to make every day, but I’m learning that there are great rewards for perseverance, in my walk with Christ, and my triathlon training!