I am a runner. Not a fast runner by any means. Not even a very good runner when you consider form or skill level. Basically, I just keep going. That is my gift. God has given me the gift of perseverance. (some might call it stubbornness)
This morning as I was running, I was praying. That is just something that I do when I run. I talk with God. I was praying specifically about some areas of my life/ministry where things seem to be bogged down. I get frustrated with slow progress or confused by troubles that seem to pop up out of no where. I look to God and I say, "Hey, what's the deal here? Why is this happening?" Well this morning, as I was running a scripture that we taught in the FCC Run for God Bible Study popped into my head.
Here it is:
"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
So, here's the deal. In this life we are going to have trouble. There will be hills and wind and heat. These are things that slow runners down. Sometimes I can get so tired that I just want to stop. I want to sit down and quit, but then God reminds me that I have a purpose - a goal. I am to fix my eyes, just like Jesus did, and endure whatever it takes to accomplish that goal. I must finish my race.
That scriptures says to not let anything entangle me. So what exactly is that in my life? Criticism, negativity, doubt, the need for approval from people rather than God, and fear would be in my top ten list for sure. When I let these things rule in my thoughts and my actions and my speech, then I trip. I struggle to move forward. I sometimes have even been guilty of just stopping.
Jesus faced an opposition that I can't even begin to fathom. He literally carried the weight of the world and all its sin, ugliness, hate, sorrow, and total separation from God on his shoulders all the way to the cross. And yet, He never stopped because He was thinking about me. He was thinking about you too. He had fixed His eyes on what was really important - our salvation.
So, whatever season you find yourself in, whether it be a downhill - wind at your back- running full speed season or an uphill, grueling climb, just keep going! Fix your eyes on Him and He will get you to the finish line.
A dear friend of mine used to encourage me when I was struggling. He would say, "Susan, is it a salvation issue? If not, don't worry about it." His point was this: Quit focusing on what doesn't matter. What matters is eternity. Fix your eyes on Jesus and just keep going!