Devotional December 21, 2018

“I can’t do this anymore, I want to give up.”

I’ve said that to myself so many times. Not just in the past, prior to knowing Christ. I’ve even said that recently. Life for me has been like one long marathon I’ve had to run, and running just isn’t my thing. I always try to pick up running as a “hobby” (typically a New Years resolution) but shortly after I begin, I move into a slow jog, then a power walk which then ultimately leads to me just turning around and heading home for the couch.

If you want to quit anything in life when things get too hard, look hard enough and I’m sure you’ll find a reason to. We have so many outside influences supporting our reasons to quit things how could we not? Usually though, it’s not the right things that we quit. My point here is that it’s easy to give up, especially when your tired, feeling down, unappreciated and absent of any motivation to strive on. 

I have friends that do the Broad Street marathon every year and while running may not be my thing, I do envy them for doing it. Their motivation to cross that finish line, regardless of the time it takes them to reach it challenges me in so many ways (personally, spiritually, and really all the above). I just don’t know how they do it. Ironically, I’ve been told by them on numerous occasions that the hardest part isn’t exactly getting to the end. The hardest part is not giving up before the finish line, but all the places along the 26 plus mile route where there is no one along the path cheering you on. The hardest sections to push through are those places where you feel like you could quit running and no one would ever notice you. 

I’ve been there. I’m sure you have too. Maybe not along a marathon route, but in places where you feel like if you’d quit, who would even notice? Hebrews 12:1-2 is a great reminder that even when we think no one is looking, cheering us on to finish this marathon of life, with all the obstacles it comes with, we need just to look to Heaven. 

“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, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”

While some of God’s promises are unconditional, many of them give a clear condition that we have to meet. Our side of the deal in this verse is to “run with endurance the race set before us looking to Jesus.”

We can wish it were otherwise, but the reality is that we all will face trials and have marathons to run in this life. For some of us, life so far seems like one long marathon and when things have gotten too much to bear, our natural first impulse and response was to quit and succumb. That’s what the enemy wants, for you and I to quit. He knows what awaits us if we endure. We need to make Hebrews 12:1-2 our fight song in those moments because “Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross…” isn’t just cheering you on from Heaven above…

He’s right there beside you, always running with you, each step of the way, praying to the Father on your behalf that you’d endure just a while longer so you can experience the joy He’s set before you. 

From my family to yours, Happy Holidays and may God Bless you! 

Gene

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