More than a decade ago, I decided I wanted to take up jogging. I bought an armband to hold my iPod, sports earbuds, and an outfit to “look” the part. I researched it (because I research everything :::pushes up glasses::: ) to see how best to start, the proper “way” to jog, etc. Several months later, I was ready to begin. (Just kidding…kinda; let’s just say a lot of time passed.)
Finally, the morning came to start this new endeavor. I got up before the sun, made a protein shake, put on my jogging clothes and gear, did some stretches, and I was off. I was on my way to a thinner, healthier me. I’d be able to call myself a jogger.
I started out pretty well, bopping down the street to the same ’80s music from my jazzercize days. Then, sharp pain in my shins. I persevered though, at least for a couple of minutes but then thought I should research this before pressing on. I turned around and walked home. Luckily it was only a block away.
After some more research, I found out I had shin splints and decided new shoes would help. I started again. Up before the sun, protein shake, jogging clothes and gear, stretches, and I was off. After passing the same number of houses as before, pain. So, I walked around the block, alternating a few seconds of jogging with several minutes of walking.
More research, more purchases, more trial runs and still, nothing would help with the shin splints. I faced the fact that I would never be a jogger, but that walking was just as good for me, and I could still wear all of the things I bought to be a jogger.
So what does this have to do with perseverance as it relates to God? I’m sure it’s obvious, but here’s how I see it. Some people call themselves Christians. They have the proper gear to look the part. They go to church on Sundays, carry their Bibles. They’ve done their research and can quote scripture, but just as I couldn’t call myself a jogger because I didn’t jog, they can’t call themselves Christians because they haven’t surrendered their lives to Christ.
Then there are those who are Christians but don’t do all of the Christian “things” that allow them to be true image-bearers for Christ. Just as I had my morning routine before stepping out the door, they have their own, let’s call it “hidden”, Christian life that no one sees. They may pray, read the Bible, even attend church, but they don’t share anything about their faith once they step outside. ** They don’t reach out to people in need or serve in any capacity. When God opens doors for them, they turn and walk the other way.
Lastly, there are those Christians who endure. They do the Christian “things” such as pray and read their Bible, attend church and Bible Studies, so they know truth and are able to build an intimate relationship with their Father. They step outside and shine their light on the world. They love their neighbors as themselves. They serve wherever they’re needed. They watch for God to open doors to share their testimony and faith in whatever capacity He has gifted them for. They grow in their faith and knowledge. They may walk instead of jog, but they persevere, loving God above all else, keeping their eyes on the prize, doing what they were created to do.
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
Galatians 6:9 ESV
As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good.
2 Thessalonians 3:13 ESV
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**Not everyone is gifted with the ability to share the Gospel, but we’re all given Spiritual Gifts to help us serve the Kingdom of God. What can you do to show others your love for Christ? Pray about it. Maybe God is calling you to contact people and check in on them. Maybe He wants you to pray for the sick, or for the unreached people groups, or some other set of people. Maybe you could mail out cards to people who are hurting. There are so many ways to show the world the light within you. Pray for God’s guidance.
Please join me this week in praying for perseverance. Let’s pray that we, and our loved ones, are faithful to what God calls us to do. Pray that we listen to the stirrings of the Holy Spirit and not let Satan cast doubt on our spiritual walk with the Lord. Pray for strength. Pray for victory in spiritual warfare. Pray that we persevere to the end.