“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…” Heb. 12:1 (ESV)
I am sure that most of you, like me, have enjoyed watching past summer Olympics. I am often astounded at what these elite athletes are capable of doing as they run, jump, swim, and pole vault to amazing heights!
Every athlete that qualifies for the Olympics has spent thousands of hours of hard work and practice to gain that honor. That hard work models what is necessary for us as Christians to progress in our walk with Christ.
In today’s passage, the writer of Hebrews uses the analogy of a physical race to describe the Christian life.
We are to run…with endurance.
We are each called by God to run a race He has set before us. But as anyone who has ever run a race knows…to run with endurance requires training.
In this age of efficiency and time saving gadgets, we have grown too used to the idea that there is a shortcut to spiritual growth. We will not grow spiritually simply by reading a view verses from the Bible each day, and saying a quick prayer before rushing off to work. Spiritual growth won’t happen until we invest significant time and effort into spiritual training.
That spiritual training involves what has become known as spiritual disciplines.
Spiritual disciplines are activities that over time help transform us into the image of Christ. Some of the common spiritual disciplines are prayer, fasting, solitude, Bible study, and service. In addition, there are other disciplines that are less well- known.
Over the next few weeks, I will be using several books including Richard Foster’s classic book Celebration of Discipline to briefly discuss each of the disciplines.
However, simply reading about the spiritual disciplines will not result in spiritual growth.
Spiritual growth only comes as we engage in these disciplines.
But before we will engage in this training…we must first decide we really want it.
So…what will it be…spiritual couch potato or spiritual Olympic athlete?
Prayer: Lord, give me a vision of the race You have set before me!