There is only one winner in each of the track events at any Summer Olympics. It’s the nature of competition. Every individual athlete, however, will have invested thousands of hours in preparation, with the goal of finishing the race with a personal record. They will think only of the race that is before them; not finishing isn’t an option.
I have a spiritual race to run. And as difficult as it is for me, I have to ask myself, have I invested the hours into training for my spiritual race such that I will be able to break the tape at the end. Just as with the Olympic athlete, the race I am called to run is an individual one. While I may find myself in a “pack” there will also be those times when I’m behind or ahead. There is a significant difference, however, in that my spiritual race is not a competition between other Jesus followers. God calls me to run the race that He has worked out, just for me.
My challenge is staying focused. So, here is where the analogy of the athlete again connects. An Olympic runner, while aware of the presence and location of the other athletes, remains focused on his own race. Well trained, this athlete resists the temptation to run the race like someone else even if they are ahead.
Endurance is built over time. I can’t run a race of endurance without building up some stamina. What is my training schedule for today?
Jesus, help me to be disciplined in my spiritual training
so that I will be able to run with endurance the race you have set before me.