Resolve to Run Faithfully

 
 
 
 
 

“Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. . .” Hebrews 12:1 (NIV)

 
 
Watching the young man skim-board at the beach, I was reminded of my childhood when my brother and I skim-boarded in mud puddles. Our skill never rose, even slightly, to the level of the young man in the surf!  

It took him time, commitment, and dedication to rise to that level, which is true for any sport. A weight-lifter doesn’t begin bench pressing 300 pounds. A marathoner doesn’t run 26.2 miles the first time she runs. To be at the top of their game requires dedication, perseverance, and commitment, which my brother and I were unwilling to devote to skim-boarding!

 

It’s no accident that God compares our Christian walk to running a race. Faith must be exercised. We cannot be expected to endure life’s hardships well without the proper spiritual training. As the New Year arrives, countless people will resolve, once again, to eat more healthfully, exercise more, and lose weight. Many Christians will rededicate themselves to having daily Bible devotions, praying more faithfully, and determine to be a better friend, sibling, child, spouse, and neighbor to others. 

   

In Jesus’ Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13:1-23), the seed that fell on good soil is likely the part of the parable with which Christians identify. But are we not sometimes like the seed that fell on rocky ground? We hear the Word and receive it with joy, but when trouble comes we react with anger towards God. We blame him for it, become depressed or lash out at others, and fall away - maybe not from our faith entirely, but a root of despair or anger takes hold, and we may doubt God’s love, or alienate ourselves from others. 



 

I discipline my body and keep it under control.

 

The Apostle Paul said, “Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified” (I Corinthians 9:25-27 ESV). Hebrews admonishes us to throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus . . . We are told to strengthen our feeble arms and weak knees (Hebrew 12:1-12 NIV). 

 

As we begin the New Year, let us ask ourselves, “What is holding us back or getting in the way of running our faith-race?  What sin is entangling us? God says throw it off. We must be liberated from sin’s trap! Let us dedicate ourselves to receiving the proper spiritual training, to allow God’s Word to root down deep in good soil, and keep our eyes fixed on Jesus—knowing his plans are best for our lives—so when times of trouble come (and they will come), we will be equipped to handle them, and persevere faithfully to the end. Then we’ll hear our Lord say, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master” (Matthew 25:21 ESV).

Read and meditate on Psalm 1.

Suggested Prayer

Dear Lord, help me to delight in your Word and meditate on it throughout the day. I want to be fruitful for your kingdom. Make your will known to me, so I will walk in your way. Amen.  

Copyright 2013 S. A. Keith

 

Teach the Parable of the Sower to Kids.

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