Endurance Training

I opened up this screen to write and I have my prayer journal next to me.   As I sit here, I’m overwhelmed with things I want to share with you.   I started a new prayer journal this year and I can’t wait to tell you about the verses, quotes, thoughts and prayers on each page!  It’s as if we’re two friends meeting after a long parting and I’m spilling over with things to share.

As excited as I am about God’s Word and how relevant and living it is in my life, I can’t help wondering if someone might read this and be discouraged, rather than encouraged—because maybe your quiet times haven’t been a success or you’re in a place right now where God seems silent.  Perhaps you’re new to this whole Christian life experience and you want to do things “right,” but when you sit down and follow all the “steps” of reading your Bible and praying, it just isn’t doing anything for you.

I get it.  It’s like when I open up Facebook and am greeted by posts from people who love to exercise and then share about it.  “I ran 12 miles, up hill, in the freezing rain.  Then I finished an hour-long workout video and next I’m headed to the gym for yoga class.”   You know who you are, exercise-lovers!

But that’s not me.  Today, I had a long conversation with myself, trying desperately to come up with the winning excuse not to exercise.  I lost the argument.  I exercised.   Did I love it?  Nope.  Am I glad I did it?  Definitely.

In the Bible, Paul told Timothy to “train yourself to be godly.  For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come” (1 Timothy 4:8, NIV).

The emphasis here, of course, is that godliness, just like physical prowess, takes training, effort, and discipline.

More than that, we’re not training for a one-time event or sprinting in a quick-to-end race.  We’re undergoing endurance training so we don’t give up in this long-term commitment that is the Christian life.  It’s easy at times to get excited by a clear act of God in our lives–an answer to a heartfelt prayer, a job after long unemployment, a good report from the doctor after an extended illness.   For a time, we’re propelled forward by the anticipation of what else God will do.  At other times, it might be a great Christian book that we just read or a speaker we just heard.  We’re thrilled with a fresh perspective and propelled forward by the encouragement and challenge of it all.

Those times are when we’re “in the zone.”  We’re running faster than we’ve ever run before, farther than we’ve ever gone and we’re not even short of breath.  It all seem so easy and so worth it.

Over time, though, those high-points fade.  They’re great for reinvigorating our Christian life, but it’s the daily walk, the steady, disciplined, never-ceasing walk, that ultimately allows us to finish the race.

In Biblical poetry, ideas are often presented in three’s, ending with the most important or greatest.   That makes the oft-quoted Isaiah 40: 31 even more encouraging to me: “but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

If you read these posts and you’re not “soaring” right now, you’re not even “running,” and it’s all you can do to plod along—don’t give up.  Keep walking.  He will give you the grace and energy you need to not faint.  Don’t look at those around you who are zipping by and start comparing your pace with theirs.  Do what God has called you to do and don’t neglect the daily disciplines of the faith that keep you constantly moving closer to Christ.

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Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2011 Heather King

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