Win a crown of glory!
It’s really easy to think about the life we’re in right now as being “the prize”. We work hard to make our lives here a good one: nice homes, nice cars, nice clothes, good friends, a job that fulfills a passion.
We have it all wrong.
This life isn't our destination, it's our race.
We’re in a marathon, sweating, working hard to win it. But we don’t win by having the nicest house or the nicest clothes; Heaven is our prize. I’m not knocking nice clothes, I mean if God wants to give you nice clothes then by all means, rock ‘em! But it's not the prize. Heaven is going to be way better than a pair of really gorgeous Louboutins with the most perfect jeans (so you KNOW it's GOT to be AMAZING).
Have Endurance in Your Life
“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.”
I find the concept of running a marathon intriguing. First of all, only .5% of the US population has actually run and completed a marathon. Experts recommend three to four months of training for a 26 mile marathon and you need to run at least three or four times per week but ideally, you should have a good year of experience running. They also recommend you run a few shorter marathons of 5k before you consider running a long one [source].
The Christian run is all about increasing in endurance for life's troubles the closer we get to God (the prize).
Do we magically wake up one day as super-Christian-marathon-winners? Able to handle every obstacle Satan puts in our path? No way. We need to train or we will stumble. We need to practice running in faith regularly or we won't have enough endurance to finish our race.
Practice Makes Perfect
RunnersWorld.com says: “The most important part of your training is a weekly long run at an easy “conversational” pace that gradually increases in distance, week over week, to build your strength and endurance.”
When running the marathon of our lives, it’s important we train our bodies and use discipline to prepare ourselves for running with endurance. If we compare it to how a runner trains for a marathon, step one would be to have a long conversation with Jesus at an easy pace, at least once a week, gradually increasing our time as we build our strength and endurance. That's right, the more super-Christian-marathon-winners we become the more time we need with God. Stay connected to the vine (or you will get infested and rot!).
Win Your Race!
“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.”
What's the number one quality all marathon winners have? They refuse to give up.
Imagine what you could accomplish if you applied that "marathon mentality" to your life? Think about it for a minute. If you never gave up when something was hard, how would that have changed your life? God calls us all to run a different race. Mine may look different than yours but we’re all running for the same thing: The Crown of Glory. Which means there's only one winner in this race: God or Satan. If we run our race motivated by our love for God, we've already won. Hallelujah!
Just in case you need some motivation, here's six "secrets" to success:
Six Secrets to Win Your Race
Secret #1- Put in Plenty of Training Time
If you're not in the habit of reading God's Word you need to put in at least one hour per week of really studying the Bible. You can’t win a marathon if you don’t know where you’re going! Being disciplined in your training and spending time in God’s word will prepare you for your race.
Secret #2- Take Care of Yourself Physically
Training for a marathon is both mental and physical. You need to exercise. You need to eat right. You need to feed and nourish your physical body as well as your spiritual body. A runner will eat properly and carefully leading up to a marathon. They'll properly refuel during the marathon. Then, they’ll eat properly after the marathon. Take care of your body and it’ll give you endurance for the road ahead.
Secret #3- Rest and Recovery are Just as Important as Running
God designed us to rest. He even gave us a "resting schedule"! God created the world in six days and on the seventh He rested (Genesis 2:2). God told the Israelites to gather food for six days and on the seventh they were to rest (Exodus 16:23). God specifically created a day of rest for us because He knows we need it (Mark 2:27). Why do we need it? Because we're made in the image of God and He rests. The day of rest is obviously very important when it comes to finishing your race!
Secret #4- You’re Not Supposed to Run the Race Alone
It’s an earthly-mentality to “take care of yourself”. God says, He will take care of us (Isaiah 46:4 TLB). God also says two are better than one (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12). In Hebrews it says we're surrounded by a cloud of witnesses who have already run the race of faith and finished it.
“So since we stand surrounded by all those who have gone before, an enormous cloud of witnesses, let us drop every extra weight, every sin that clings to us and slackens our pace, and let us run with endurance the long race set before us. [We may feel alone, but we aren’t. We are surrounded by an army of witnesses. They have run the race of faith and finished well. It is now our turn.”
So remember, you’re surrounded by God’s people and they’re cheering you on! Stay motivated with a good church community, Christian friends, online communities, podcasts, worship music and events, Christian conventions, etc. etc. etc. The Christian community is HUGE, take advantage of it!
Secret #5- Get the Right Gear
You need a Bible. A really good Bible. One you understand and can make notes in. Many Bibles have explanations in them or stories to reinforce lessons. Your Bible is your race-map and it’s the most important thing you will need to finish your race (But it won’t help you if you don’t understand it!). [Need help understanding God's Word? Check out my Bible Study, The Be Still Series!]
Secret #6- You Have a Secret Weapon
He is a person. His name is Holy Spirit. He lives inside of you. He listens to you. He talks to God for you. He understands you. He's your Helper. He's your Counsellor. He's your Guide. He strengthens you. He's your Comforter. He's your Protector. He's your Translator. He's your Encourager. He is Omnipresent. He's the Power of God.
You can do this.
Feeling motivated? Run hard, Woman of God. Train yourself. Train your children. Don’t give up and WIN YOUR RACE!