Sprinters bolt from starting blocks with great bursts of energy that is difficult to sustain for lengthy periods of time, while long distance runners desperately need the ability to maintain energy over time in order to be successful. Consequently, a sprinter’s training is much different than one who runs long distances. A sprinter’s course is short and smooth. He has no need to leave the stadium track. To the contrary, a long distance runner ventures out to face steep and rugged terrain, low valleys, and everything in between. Unaware of the complete course, the long distance runner conditions himself to face a wide range of challenges.
The Christian life in many ways parallels that of a long distance race. The course can be unpredictable and arduous with high spots, low points, and many twists and turns. Those who approach the Christian life like a sprint may grow tired and weary and, at some point, may even consider dropping out of the race. Although zealous at the start of the race, they may loose heart when the course becomes difficult or when it appears they are falling behind.
Paul instructs Christians to “run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (Hebrews 12:1). Those who are sincere in pursuing Christ will be committed to following Him for the duration of life’s race no matter how long the course or where it may take them. They recognize that God sets the course for His followers and expects them to respond with intentional, persistent endurance.
Do you choose to persevere when it would be easier to give up? Are you pressing onward and upward when life’s temptations try to bring you down? Do you stay steadfast in pursuit of God’s will even when your friends choose a different path? Are you resolved to go the distance with Christ Jesus?