If you are like me, just the thought of running makes my legs begin to ache and my lungs start to deflate. Then there are those who really enjoy this torturous act. Something is just not right with those people, but we must love them anyway. When it comes to being healthy though, I have not found any other exercise that can give the same benefits as running. I don’t have to like it; I just need to do it.

The Bible speaks to our journey as followers of Jesus as a race; Paul speaks of it in his writings as well as the writer of Hebrews. The bottom line to running and running well is endurance. It is the will to keep going when you just want to quit. I totally get this. When I am on a treadmill, I have a goal, I want to run 3 miles within thirty minutes. Lately I have been able to accomplish that goal several times, but there are more times that I do not quite make it. The reason? I quit. I let the fact that breathing becomes difficult and the ache in my legs, hips, and every other part of my body convince me that I just need to stop.

There are so many similarities in the Christian walk. When we first get started walking with Jesus it is exciting and we enjoy the adventure, but then life sets in. The job stinks and begins to suck the joy we once had right out of us. Then there are family issues. Whether it is a relationship with parents, children, or even our spouse it takes its toll. Let’s face it, following Jesus is not easy, in fact it is downright difficult at best. So how do we endure? How do we keep going when we really just want to throw in the towel?

The writer in Hebrews chapter 12 gives us some encouragement. Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (Heb 12:1-3) First, remember that we are being cheered on by not only those around us (see previous blog), but also those who have gone on before us. I don’t know if people in heaven know what is going on in our lives, but I know if they did, they would be cheering at the top of their lungs “keep going, it is all worth it.” Second, know that if you are serious about running this race that there are some things in our lives that need to be cut loose. We all have our little pet sins we keep around just because we enjoy them. We also know those little sins will keep us from being all we can be for Jesus. They hinder us from running well. Third, look to Jesus. He has already run this race perfectly. He wants us to run the race the best we can, and He is the only One that can help us accomplish the task. Pray to Him; ask Him to give strength and endurance.

Lastly, I am running right beside you, keep your eyes up and never give up.