Last week I wrote in the post Running the Race about how running buddies can encourage you and keep you going strong.
In the post, I mentioned how my son, Joe, was a great running buddy. However, he is not running with me currently.
Allow me to introduce my new running buddy to you. This running buddy is 105 lbs of fur. He has four legs, a wet nose, and likes to stop and sniff occasionally. Yes, it is our lovable Golden Retriever, Sammy.
As soon as I grab the leash, he is ready! Excited about starting the race, he pants with tongue wagging. He runs and jumps in anticipation. He circles round and around waiting for me to put the leash on him. He gazes up and me and pulls on the leash seeming to say, "Come on, let's go!"
So, we go. Like a horse out of the starting gate, he merrily trots along.....until....we reach about a quarter of a mile from our house. Then, the excitement comes to an abrupt halt. The eager pup then turns into a lagging dog. He loses steam. A blade of grass or a squirrel easily distract. He spots a shady area and longs to wander off the running path and rest in the grass.
What happened? He was so excited, so full of enthusiasm for this run.
Let us lay aside every weight, and sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. Hebrews 12:1
Many times, we are like Sammy. We get excited about doing what God has called us to do. We are full of anticipation and hope, trotting merrily along....until....we get a quarter of a mile down the road. Then, we lose steam. We get distracted. We realize this run is not as easy as we originally thought it would be and we long to wander off the path.
In the verse above, the word translated "sin" is "hamartano" in the original Hebrew. It means "to wander from the path of uprightness and honor."
Doubt and unbelief may tempt you off your path. Distractions are all around us competing for our affections. Sloth or complacency may try to sway you off God's path to one that seems easier.
You may hear the faint sound of a voice coercing you, "It is ok to wander off this path. You couldn't make it anyway. It is too hard of a path. You can't finish this race. You might as well stop." This voice is NOT of God. This voice is the deception of the enemy trying to discourage you off the path God has for you to run. If it is not God's path, it may appear easier, but there will not be victory at the finish.
I want to finish my race victoriously! I know you do too.
And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Gal 6:9
Now, back to my running buddy, Sammy. Even though he sees the shady spot off the path, he keeps going with a little encouragement (and a tug on his leash). He may go a little slower and even walk some of the way, but He keeps going. At 105 lbs, he does have some "weight" he needs to lay aside to finish the race.
However, something miraculous happens when we reach the home stretch. As soon as he sees our home, he springs back to life. His strength and energy is renewed. He goes faster and faster with the goal in mind.
Are you getting this? I am sure you can see my point. We must keep our goal and our end in mind. We must keep our focus on our "home". Heaven is our home. Earth is not our home, we are just passing through here.
We must keep our eyes on the Kingdom of God. It is the finish line, it is the reason we run the race. With our eyes on the prize of our HOME, we will have the strength and energy to finish the race. We may need a little encouragement and a tug now and again, but God will give us the strength to finish the race victoriously!