Scripture Reading — 1 Timothy 4:7-8, 15-16
I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Philippians 3:12 —
Over 25 years ago I ran a 25 kilometer (15.5 mile) race. I entered on a whim. At that time, though, I usually ran a couple of miles four or five days a week, lifted weights once in a while, and played some hockey. I was, basically, in excellent condition. In the weeks before the race, I ran five miles twice; I ran seven miles once. Until the day of the race, I had never run farther than seven miles in my life! I finished the race tired and sore-but I finished! Then, after a long afternoon nap, I went roller-skating in the evening! Why? Because I could! It was great to be in excellent physical shape.
"Faith can be compared to vigorous exercises such as running, or wrestling, or straining for a great prize or crown," writes Jonathan Edwards. "It can also be used to describe fighting strong enemies who seek our lives in warfare or the siege of a city or a kingdom."
No one runs a 25K race one day if most of the previous days are spent being a couch potato. No one successfully fights a strong temptation or an attack of the devil by being a spiritual couch potato either.
Cultivate a close relationship with Jesus Christ: study a portion of his Word; pray; listen to good preaching; sing or listen to psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs; read good books; worship every week. Get in good spiritual condition. Keep the faith, and finish the race.
Father, "may we run the race before us, strong and brave to face the foe, looking only unto Jesus as we onward go." Guide us in spiritual fitness, we pray. Amen.