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Run Well

When athletes are about to take part in a sprint they crouch on the starting line waiting for the starter's signal. They must be careful not to "jump the gun". When the pistol fires, they are off down the track as fast as they can go.

The Christian life is a race we begin running the moment we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a long-distance race rather than a short sprint. The sprinter needs energy for a short burst of speed; long-distance runners must be able to keep up their effort for a long time, they must have endurance.

Many believers run well at the beginning of their Christian lives. They are thankful to the Lord Jesus for their salvation. They are keen to read their Bibles, set aside time for prayer, and to meet with other Christians. But some soon tire. They get taken up fully with their studies or their work; Hobbies or interests which are not harmful in themselves begin to take up all spare time. The prayer life dries up. Bible reading gets missed. Excuses are easily found for not going to meetings. Let us never forget that Satan is always putting obstacles in the way. He is trying to hinder us from running well. Paul had to ask the Galatian Christians the searching question, "Ye were running well; who did hinder you?" (Gal. 5:7).

Runners are dressed for the job, they cast off anything that will hinder them. The writer of the letter to the Hebrew Christians had this in mind when he wrote, "Let us... lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us" (Heb. 12:1). If you find something in your life which is a constant source of failure, ask the Lord to help you to overcome it. Otherwise it may become a "besetting sin".

The runner has his eye fixed on a goal, he wants to be first to the winning post. In the Greek Olympic Games the victor was crowned with an olive wreath. The athletes strove hard for this great honour. As Paul says, "They do it to receive a corruptible crown", something that will soon fade, "but we an incorruptible" (1 Cor. 9:25). Those who run well in their Christian lives will receive an eternal reward.

Towards the end of his life Paul wrote, "I have finished the course". Although bodily weak, he was still spiritually vigorous. He finished his course strongly. May the Lord give us strength to run well to His glory.