Today thousands of runners took to the streets for the 38th annual London Marathon. The race consists of a 26.2 mile route and around 40,000 participants finished the gruelling race.
The London Marathon can be compared to the Christian faith in many ways. Just like the runners who will be challenging themselves to complete the route, our faith requires testing – or ‘training’ − in order for us to grow spiritually, the journey isn’t free from difficulties and perhaps most importantly, we need endurance to make it to the end.
In Hebrews 12, apostle Paul compares the development of our faith to a race. He says:
“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, 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. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
Sometimes, the Christian walk can seem really really hard and, in all honesty, it is! We’re trying to live lives that often go completely against what the world tells us to do and it can be tough to stay on track when we’re constantly being fed with all these different messages that don’t quite align with our faith.
But just like the race that’ll be taking place in London this weekend, the Christian walk is a marathon and not a sprint. It’s not about who can grow in their faith or become more like Christ the fastest. It’s a process which will seem really challenging at times, but the reward, us becoming more and more like Jesus, is truly the most incredible prize.
The Christian journey will feel slow at times. At other points you may have bursts of energy that drive you forward. You’ll inevitably make mistakes, have amazing triumphs and sometimes get super tired, but the trick is to keep going, regardless of the obstacles you might face.
The key word that describes this in the Hebrews passage is perseverance. Even if you stumble in your Christian walk, it doesn’t mean that’s the end. Christ will always welcome you back into the race and you will never lose the opportunity to continue moving forward.
So, when the Christian walk gets tough and you maybe even feel like giving up, know that Jesus, along with a whole load of amazing men and women of God who have gone before you, is cheering you on. Eternal life with God is the ultimate goal and with His help, you’ll get there.