Have you ever tried to run a marathon? I haven’t. In fact, I haven’t tried to run any distance since I was a small child and used to be chased by geese at the park. I know quite a few people that enjoy running and have decided to run a marathon. I know that they are having to discipline themselves and adopt a regime of training that is quite strict. They have to change their diet, have all the right equipment and most of all they have to run, every day, no matter the weather conditions. I admire people with that kind of commitment. I guess, that is why I enjoy watching the Olympic games.
It fascinates me to listen to athlete’s stories of their dedication and focus. For some of us, mere mortals, it might seem a little over the top to spend all that time training just to get a medal around your neck. But I have to admit, as a Christian I have a lot to learn from the dedication, focus, commitment of an athlete and the discipline they have.
In our pursuit of holiness we must train ourselves, rooted in God’s grace to rid ourselves of all the bad habits, the sins we cultivate in our hearts in order that God be glorified in us. We must keep our focus on Jesus, after all, to be holy is to be like Jesus. As the runner keeps focused on crossing that finish line, so, we must focus on the giver and perfecter or our faith.
Hebrews 12:1-3 tells us:
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, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (emphasis mine).
The preparation for a marathon is hard and long, and when you ask friends about it they will tell you of the many times they thought about giving up, but they didn’t. Either because they were running to remember a loved one, raise money for a good cause or just for personal satisfaction. They needed to do it. They had a goal.
God set the goal for each Christian: “Be holy, because I am holy”. That is what we need to remind ourselves each day. We are in a much better place than athletes though because God’s grace is being poured on us each day through Christ for our salvation and for our sanctification. The same grace that saves us is the one that disciplines us and helps us to pursue holiness. This is what Paul tells us in Philippians 1:6
“ being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
We have God’s grace and through his grace we also have the Holy Spirit working in us. In my next few posts I will be talking about this amazing grace and how it disciplines/trains us in this journey, pursuing holiness.
Have a blessed week.
Photo by Cameron Venti on Unsplash