When I was in high school I was part of the cross country ski team. Many nights I practised - sometimes with the team, sometimes on my own. Our coach would often stress the necessary discipline to ‘press in’ and attack the many hills laid out on our school’s 10 kilometer course. It was necessary to maintain our pace and even to increase it when going up the hills. That way we wouldn’t lose our momentum. It was interesting that during the team practice, I was greatly motivated to press on up the hills when I had team mates ahead or especially when they were behind me. But when I was on my own, when no one else was looking, I was tempted to take it easy or even to stop and rest.
I think it’s like that as Christians. When we have others around us, also going through the tough situation, we often rise to the occasion and triumph over the obstacle set before us. But what happens when we’re on our own, with no one around to examine our efforts? What happens when there’s no one to ‘see’ how fast we’re going in the race that’s set before all who profess Jesus as their Lord. There are many lonely tracks stretched out on the course for believers. In my youth the efforts I put in when I was alone in the hills on the 10 k course dictated how well I was to do when called upon to carry my team to victory. Great would be the cheers of the spectators on the day of the race as they saw the effort we made as we pressed on up those hills! How are you doing when the hills of life come upon you in your race?
I encourage you to maintain your momentum and keep the pace, as you keep the necessary discipline of pressing in to what is set before you. The Lord is our strength in times of trouble. He will strengthen the weary in their hardship and will help you up the hills and through to the other side towards victory, as you lean on Him and trust in Him! Don’t let’s forget that those who’ve gone before us are witnesses to our efforts, and they’re cheering us with great exuberant cheers through the hills of our course, as we keep pressing in!
Prayer: Lord we need You. Our efforts to run the race sometimes seem so small, and often futile. Give us the strength to endure through to the end, and help us, dear Lord, not to quit even when we’re discouraged, but to rise up with new effort as You come and strengthen us in our spirits. Would You come and minister to us, giving us new vision for the course before us, and renewed hope to press in? Thank You, Lord Jesus, for giving us strength to continue to run the race set before us and to live victoriously in this day. Amen.
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