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Persevere!

05 June 2022

By Sarah Ireton

A few years ago my husband Sam did the Windermere marathon.  He made it look so easy that I thought I’d do one too!  I joined up for a training plan and started working towards a 5K, 10K, the Liverpool Half Marathon, and then to top it off, the Delamere Forest Marathon!  I bought new clothes, invested in good trainers and improved my diet - all the things you’re supposed to do.  Not surprisingly, there were some serious moments of “what on earth was I thinking???” and MANY times I found myself wanting to give up.  

During the training, Sam prepared a playlist of scriptures and songs to play whilst I ran.  I’d often just listen and repeat Philippians 4 v 13 over and over again: “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”  It’s not that I’m stubborn, but I had committed to the race and I didn’t want to give up, so this scripture became my mantra.  On the day of the run I could barely breathe, but you can bet Philippians 4 v 13 came out!!!  It kept me focused and every time I saw a ditch or faced an uphill climb, it found its way out of my mouth!       

1 Corinthians 9 v 24–27 reminds me of this experience.  It says: “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize?  Run in such a way as to get the prize.  Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training.  They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.  Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air.  No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”

Our Christian walk can be like a marathon. It can be absolutely wonderful, but it can also take sacrifice and effort and perseverance.  There are times that we feel like we’re flying and other times it just feels like a long, slow grind.  Just like in a marathon, we can struggle in a bumpy patch, watch others zoom by.  We can even desperately desire the water station just to catch our breath!  It’s times like those that we need scriptures to speak into our situation and friends to wave from the side-lines and encourage us on. 

This is exactly what Paul is doing in this scripture – he’s exhorting us to persevere.  Far greater than simply passing a finish line, he reminds us that there is a real prize that we pursue: the prize of Christ.  With our perseverance we go deeper, walk closer and know Him better.  So don’t worry about what others are doing, and don’t grow weary in doing good.  Wherever you are on your journey, just keep your eyes on Jesus and don't quit!  He is faithful and His Word never fails.

 

Be all that God has created you to be.