It’s that time of year where all the “regulars” at the gym get annoyed because there are three times as many people there working out. Typically this lasts through January and half of February before the majority of those people fall off the bandwagon. Doesn’t take too long before their New Year’s resolution to go to the gym flies out the window. A small portion of these people stick with their resolutions and continue exercising to build their endurance. I’m proud of those people for sticking to their goals.
But this isn’t the type of running I’m talking about. I’m talking about running the race of life that God has set before us. Between work, maintaining laundry and cleaning, taking your kids (if you have any) to and from school, sporting events, and other extracurricular activities, being a wife/husband, life gets crazy. No wonder why so many people fall off the exercise bandwagon. Ha. Life wasn’t meant to be easy, but we definitely don’t have to do it alone. God is on our side, and He wants us to focus our eyes on Him despite our circumstances.
And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Hebrews 12:1-2a
To run with endurance all we have to do is keep our eyes on Jesus, simple as that. Easier said than done. Peter started to sink into the water when he focused on the storm around him rather than fixing his gazed upon Jesus (Matthew 14:22-36). Similarly, we will stumble through life if we look away from Jesus to look at our surrounding circumstances or ourselves. How can we focus our eyes on Jesus in this crazy, fast paced, secular world? What a great question. I’m so glad you asked.
“You are who you hang out with,” said every mom ever. But honestly, I don’t totally disagree. Surrounding yourself with friends and family who are committed to Jesus is one of the best ways you can keep your focus on Him, in my opinion. It’s easier to stick to your workouts when you have a gym partner to hold you accountable. Likewise, when you surround yourself with other Christians you are more likely to focus your eyes on Jesus. Wrong friends will have values and activities that may deter you from the course God has set before us. Kind of like how Cady Heron was labeled a mean girl because she hung out with Regina George and her clan.
Reading your Bible is another way to redirect your focus. Incorporate Bible reading into your morning routine or your lunch break at work. Download the Bible app and let it read out loud to you while you’re getting ready or driving home from work. Whatever it takes, dedicate some time during the day to God, and I promise you won’t regret it. Having a relationship with God creates a firm foundation, ultimately providing the endurance you need to go through this thing called life.
Another way to keep your eyes on Jesus is to strip off any excess weight that weighs you down. I’m not talking about losing pounds or dropping inches from your waistline. Your “weight” may be an alcohol addiction, a toxic relationship with your significant other, or a poor choice of friends. Identify the things, actions, and/or people in your life who hinder your relationship with God. Whatever your “weight” may be, get rid of it. Trust me, you’ll feel better once it is gone.
So back to my exercise analogy- athletes don’t start off as great runners. They get better with practice. They may stumble, but they continue to work hard. Their practice builds endurance. Surrounding yourself with Christians, reading your Bible, stripping off excess “weight” that weighs you down—all of these things will build the endurance God wants us to have and help keep your focus on Him.
In life we will encounter struggles and hardships. Life is no cake walk, but remember, you’re not in this alone. God is on your side. We aren’t the first to struggle with the problems we face. Others have run this race and won. You can do it, too.