I’ve realized that I’ve trained myself for sprints over the years.
When I was a child, my sisters and I always had running races in our garden, and I would always win. But when it came to long-distance, I usually came last. Honestly, I still hate long-distance running. I prefer power walking, but that’s another conversation.
I was praying about this the other day and realized that I do the same thing in my relationship with God. I’ll speed through passages and themes He’s teaching me and feel really successful because of it…like somehow I’ve mastered humility, patience or other godly characteristics. HA yeah right!
However, scripture teaches us that perseverance is valuable, that diligence is something worth adopting. We’re called to “run the race” of faith toward the finish line.
So, some verses that popped up while I was thinking about this were these:
Ecclesiastes 9:11: “the race is not to the swift, or the battle to the strong…but time and chance happen to them all”
Revelation 2:3—speaking to the church in Ephesus: “you have persevered and have endured hardship for my name, and have not grown weary”
1 Corinthians 9:24, 25: “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.”
All of those verses honour the concepts of perseverance and diligence. There is, and will be great joy when we reach the finish line.
In that last passage, I believe Paul is talking about the actual Greek Olympics. He wasn’t talking about a sprint. He was talking about long-distance running, more like a marathon. If we sprint a marathon, we get weary by like…. mile one. Paul is communicating that pacing and diligence are extremely important in order to win the spiritual race and receive the crown of life promised to us.
In simpler terms, it’s like the tortoise and the hare fable. Slow and steady wins the race!
I think this is very applicable to where I’m at in school. Since God gives so many gifts and resources, I think He desires for us to honour Him by being diligent in studying, in noticing each other’s needs and in pacing ourselves.
As the end of the semester nears, it feels like I’m sprinting toward the finish line. But I think the most rewarding feeling will be the knowledge that I was diligent and faithful in my time.
It’s easy to burn out when we sprint. I’m so guilty of it and constantly wear myself out. But perseverance is a godly characteristic and is something that is attainable by the strength that Christ gives us when we ask.