As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God. The time of my death is near. I have fought the good fight,
I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. 2Timothy 4:6-7
Jesus did not put us on the earth just to start the race of life, but to finish it.~Christine Caine
In her book Run to Win Christine Caine, points out that the marathon runner is determined to never give up. This is the next level after the press on which is to keep pressing on. She points out that marathon runners hit a wall and want to give up, their mind says to give up, their body wants to give up, and their spirit can be crushed. I remember when I was running the first, and so far the only, half marathon and hitting that wall at mile 8. I was coming off the high of the crowds that were cheering us on at the St. Jude campus as we ran through it, and the huge crowd down at Beal Street in Memphis Tennessee. Then the big hill at the Zoo was just too much for me to take, I had to back off and start walking. Up until this point in my training I never stopped to walk, it was all run or no run. My feet were hurting, my mind was on wanting to quit, and my legs felt like sludge. Then my friend and mentor who helped me lose weight and taught me to run called me (yes I had my cell phone with me) and reminded me that it was alright to walk and that to just finish the race. As always her encouragement and advice I took and my spirit was lifted up at that moment and I began to run again. I stopped to walk a couple of more times during that race, but it was okay because I finished the race and made it to the finish line in tears. Tears because for me starting to walk for just 5 minutes with oxygen to running a half marathon, that was a major accomplishment that could not have been done without God involved with me and using people to enhance my determination with their encouragement.
Looking at the above scripture and quote, we can take a few things that can help us to never give up. Paul gives us 3 insights on how he finished his race. The first one is he allowed himself to be used of God. He surrendered to Jesus Christ in his life. Jesus Christ was on the throne of Paul’s life and was the major deciding factor in every choice he made. Just as in the marathon, you have to die to the idea of giving up. Remaining faithful to your path, that God has you on, will be the only way you can finish the race. Surrender is so important in the big picture of remaining faithful.
Knowing what mile marker you are at is important. When you are aware of how far you have to go, you also are aware of how far you have gone. One trick I always use is, wow, I have run 6 miles already, I know I can handle another 6 miles. Paul knew he was coming to the end of his race of life and had no regrets because he stayed faithful to the path. He also was aware of the past and was aware of how far he had come. Mile marker 11 was an awesome moment for me, I realized I only had a 5K left to run and I knew I could get more out of my body.
The last insight Paul talks about is the idea of fighting the good fight. You will always face opposition when you are doing something noteworthy, the enemy will not let you rest in the fact that you are doing good. He will come at you with your past, but you have to fight through that and realize the other two insights of surrender and knowing how far you have come. As I write this I am really speaking to myself on this matter, I have been under attack with my past for so long, I now just realized how much under attack I have been. We can never surrender to the idea of our past coming to the present and affecting our future. The good thing about the past is we have learned we can endure. The negative aspect is the idea of you going back the way you came. So, fighting the good fight means to never surrender, never give up to the past. Yeah, mile 8 was a bummer, but wow, I made it to mile 11 and I am still going. I’m going to finish this race I told myself. I now am saying to myself that I am going to finish this race of life strong.
Three insights that keep us remaining faithful to the path. Surrender, knowing your place and fighting to finish strong are the ways we remain faithful to the path.
David Howard], [David’s Body Temple], 2011-2015.