“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” – Hebrews 12:1.
Discipline and endurance go hand in hand for the Christian because the Christian life is more like a marathon than a short sprint. Whether we have a few years left or many in our journey of life, we need good decisions in order to run with endurance the race God has set before us. Paul says in Philippians 3:14, “I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” Professional runners do not become winners by listening to lectures, watching movies, reading books or cheering at races. They become winners when they enter a race and with discipline and endurance, win the race. Likewise, if you want to be a winner in this race of Christianity you must have a spirit of discipline and endurance and be willing to run the race.
That all sounds complicated and exhausting, doesn’t it? It does take a lot of effort. Christ-centered discipline and endurance doesn’t just happen, any more than making good decisions, getting out-of-debt or having a good marriage just happens. It requires a good plan, good decisions and some discipline mixed in. It requires looking at your present, at the future and a whole lot of help from God.
So how do we run the race? What does it mean to endure? As Christians, we know that we are building the kingdom of Christ. We can contribute to kingdom-building as a waitress, mother, accountant, teacher, or soldier. Making contributions requires endurance. The beauty is that you can advance the kingdom regardless of who we are and what we do. You don’t have to be a CEO or a pastor. We can make eternal contributions in the often mundane tasks of life. By being the best fireman, homemaker, realtor I can be, I can add my part—and in some ways, I will never know exactly what my part was this side of heaven. It takes endurance, and discipline which leads to decisions that make sense now in light of eternity,
We must consider our work in the bigger context of kingdom-building. We must remember that we will endure hostility from many angles. God knew that we would feel weary and discouraged at times. We have hope because we are not just waiting out our time until we get to heaven. With Christ as our model, we are actually contributing each and every day to the eternal future.
Perseverance, faith, and endurance will carry us through. Recognizing that we have important contributions to make through our work can bring us great joy and fulfillment in the “already…not yet” time in which we live.
- What does it mean to you when the Bible says love others?
- What can we do this week to be better at loving others?