The Spiritual Marathon: Two Sides of Perseverance
Perseverance is hard. As one who has fought a losing battle with the practice of running, I can only gape in slack-jawed awe at those who have the spirit and endurance to run a 10k, let alone a marathon. Hence, it is a sobering comparison for me to acknowledge that our journey of faith is a spiritual marathon, not a sprint. The exhaustion of life can easily weigh us down, tempting us to throw in the towel and give up the race. Thankfully, Scripture does not leave us in the dark about how to endure these struggles. In the book of Jude, we find two realities about perseverance that we must keep in tension if we are to persevere in faith.
Perseverance is the Believer's Responsibility. If we as believers do not take the time and energy to remain faithful, we will fall away. It is not feasible to simply float along for a lifetime on the euphoria of a conversion experience and early faith. It takes hard work on our part to avoid falling away. This is mentioned several times in the New testament. 1 Tim. 6:12 calls us to "fight the good fight of faith," and Heb. 10:35-36 confirms that we "have need of endurance."
Perseverance is God's Work. We cannot live a full life of faith on our own. God plays a huge role in our perseverance. Jude reminds us that the Lord is able to "keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy" (Jude 1:24). God does not foist the entire responsibility of faith onto our shoulders. "He who began a good work in you will be faithful to bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ" (Phil. 1:6).
Am I Really a Christian?
McKinley challenges new and nominal Christians to take a deeper look at their Christian faith. This book addresses five key criteria to evaluate one’s standing before God.
Believers can't expect to sail effortlessly through life's spiritual marathon. Life gets exhausting and gritty even for the most faithful followers. We have to make a conscious and painful effort to keep running after Christ and not collapse. But if we seek diligently to endure, God will provide us with the strength to persevere and keep running onwards toward the goal.
From Am I Really a Christian? by Mike McKinley.
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