My legs are screaming at me.
My heart pounds, my lungs gasp for air- its been months since I last ran. The winter cold has kept me in and what used to be a wonderful exercise is turned to misery. Endurance, though it may be a virtue, is the least appealing thing to me as my blood pounds through my body. Pain has overshadowed my intentions and whatever goal was set before me is left a mile behind.
Endurance is a virtue which is often over looked. I, myself, find in a culture that promotes immediate self-gratification we see little need in faithfulness, endurance, or long-suffering. This can be exemplified in our love affair with fast-food, our rising divorce rate in and outside the Church, and our constant attention to texting, tweeting, and Facebook. We are a culture that does not see the value of waiting or enduring through hardship and therefore we miss the blessing which can come on the other side or the lessons learned through it.
The Scriptures show us a better way though. We see from beginning to end God calling to Himself a people in faithfulness. God shows us an attentive love which faithfully pursues us even to the point of enduring our shame, mockery and ultimately sin itself. Jesus endured the pain of the cross in order to gain you, His great reward. Ultimately, Christ calls us to the same model of living. He calls us to bear a cross but also insures that His “burden is light.”
We are all called to run this race set before us in faithfulness enduring the pain of this world for the prize of knowing Christ Jesus. Take hope, therefore, not only that a prize waits before you. That is, the glory of God but also take hope and find strength and energy in the Spirit of God who Christ promised us. We do not run this race alone. We run with the power of the Holy Spirit. Endure, therefore for your Helper is sure and your prize is eternal.
"24Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.25Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.26Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air;27but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified." (1 Cor. 9:24-27)
Author, John Bush of JesusSaves.cc - 1/23/13