HOW to WIN a
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
You are probably familiar with the Olympic games which take place every four years. You may even know about the famous Boston Marathon, but did you know Marathon was the name of an ancient Greek village?
Greece once consisted of small provinces. Legend has it that after the people of East Attica defeated the Persians in 490 B.C., a messenger ran twenty-six miles from the town of Marathon to Athens to report the victory.
No wonder "marathon" became a word associated with an endurance race. Have you ever seen hundreds of marathon runners line up at a starting line? To me it looks crowded and confusing. But at the starting signal, the crowd always spreads out. All are headed for the same goal, but each runner hits his own stride. The goal is so far away as to be unseen, but it's pulsating in every heart.
ONE STEP at a TIMEThe eleventh chapter of Hebrews is known for its listing of spiritual pilgrims and patriarchs. Each is an example of a lifetime marathon completed by faith. We are following in their footsteps.
The Apostle Paul understood that it's easy to get weary and lose heart, but he had a solution. Instead of focusing on self, or the people around you, Paul advised that we focus on Jesus. He's the "author and finisher of our faith" who empowers us all the way (Hebrews 12:2, NKJV).
What better example of enduring to the end could there be? Paul said Jesus fought through pain and shame while coming to the end of His earthly life. In spite of great opposition from non-believers, He remained focused on one thing . . . the joy ahead of Him in the presence of God (Hebrews 12:2-3, NKJV).
The goal of a marathon is to run the distance. At the finish line, the timing of arrivals is quite varied. But even the last man in is congratulated for not being a quitter.
RUN to WIN
How can you win your spiritual Lifetime Achievement Award? Paul gave some practical advice in Hebrews 12:1-3. This is how I think of it:
- Look to Jesus, who is with you from start to finish, supplying faith for the race
- Throw aside unnecessary things that drag you away from your spiritual goal
- Eliminate sin that cleverly entangles you and impedes your progress
- Knowing the race is long and challenging, remain steady to the end
- When weary, remember Jesus' example of perseverance in spite of opposition
How many people do you know who have completed their earthly marathon and are awaiting their spiritual Lifetime Achievement Award? I know many, and I'll bet you do, too. So, let's take further advice from the Apostle Paul and "not grow weary" while running this race, for we shall win if we "do not lose heart" (Galatians 6:9 NKJV).
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