If you feel like you are faltering in the race, ask yourself these four questions drawn from Hebrews 12:1-2:
1. Is there anything weighing me down?
Marathon runners don’t lug suitcases onto the race course. They don’t carry backpacks. They bring only the essentials – and they think very carefully before deciding whether an item is essential or not.
Similarly, we may need to shed some weight to keep up the pace in our Christian life. These are things that may not be bad in and of themselves, yet have become an encumbrance. For instance, there’s nothing wrong with keeping up with current events, but if I watch the news so much that it dominates my day, then it is a weight that I need to get rid of.
Look at what is consuming your time, your energy, and your thoughts. If anything is weighing you down, lay it aside.
2. Is there any sin clinging to me?
Imagine trying to run a race wrapped in a wet sheet. Not happening. The clinging fabric will impede every step, tangling your feet until you crash to the ground.
That’s what sin does to us – it stops us from moving forward. If there is any sin clinging to you, confess it, repent of it, and ask God to help you achieve victory over it.
3. Am I pacing myself?
Marathon runners don’t sprint all-out only to collapse, struggle up, and sprint again. They know how to pace themselves to surely and steadily achieve their goal of finishing the race. That’s what endurance running is all about.
Similarly, we need to pace ourselves through the practice of the spiritual disciplines such as reading the Word, praying, worshiping, serving, etc. Daily discipline brings lifetime endurance.
4. Am I fixing my eyes on Jesus?
Marathon runners can’t allow themselves to be distracted by the crowds, the scenery, or even their own bodies. They need complete focus to cross the finish line.
When we falter in the race, it is often because we have taken our eyes off Jesus – the one who is our Coach and our Strength and our Prize. Focus on him and him alone – and you will win this race!
“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, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author 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.” – Hebrews 12:1-2