Several years ago, my family and I were biking on a path that winds through our community. Daffodils splashed yellow here and there. Trees were budding. Birds were chirping. We had a whole day planned traveling along the lengthy path.
Then, out of nowhere, two guys on racing bikes zoomed up from behind. They swerved in front of us and cut us off without so much as an “on your left” comment or grunt of any kind. I nearly fell off my bike as my head swiveled taking inventory of our scattered family. Everyone was OK. No one had fallen but we were a bit disheveled. We eventually collected ourselves and made our way back onto our journey.
I’ve experienced similar situations in my spiritual life. Maybe the same happens to you.
Here’s the scenario: I’m regularly spending time with the Lord. Worship and prayer are integrated throughout my day. Weeks pass. Then I look around and find myself in a spiritual desert. I’ve swerved way off my Christ-centered path. How did I get into the wasteland? How did I lose focus? Somewhere along the way I lost the capacity to sustain the pace. My faith did not withstand the wear and tear of time.
“You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth?” (Galatians 5:7)
Sometimes friends and family are the ones who distract. More often, however, it’s our own nature that inhibits endurance. We are most inclined to choose the comfortable and undemanding route. Quite possibly the laws of physics can be blamed. Without the required input of effort, our tendency is toward disorder and randomness.
Perseverance is not pretty. The adrenaline rush and intensity of the moment make our daily choices seem dull and inconsequential. Nothing could be farther than the truth! The daily choices of endurance are essential on the path toward maturity (James 1:4; Romans 5:3-4).
Three obstacles hinder our endurance:
Boredom. Occasions arise when our goal remains unreached but we’ve lost interest in the race. Conquering boredom may require a new perspective of your goal. What other ways might you accomplish your goal? Conversations with a few friends and some internet searches on your topic can offer new choices to move you along on the path.
Indecision. Many of us give up on a goal when we reach the a moment when a hard choice is required. We become trapped in the indecision. But not making a decision actually is making a decision. We effectively opt to step off the path and sit on the bench. We can overcome this obstacle by committing to face and move through tough choices. Prayer, study, and the wisdom of fellow believers can help guide this process.
Doubts. Worrying over the path can escalate to immobilizing doubts. Hesitation dominates our choices as we make excuses for underlying fears. We conquer doubts by identifying and unraveling them. First, write down every doubt. In the following days, pray and ponder these concerns. Allow the Lord to speak through His Word and His people to help resolve uncertainties. Exposed doubts can not longer silently take you out of the race!
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses,
let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.
And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,
fixing our eyes on Jesus,the pioneer and perfecter of faith.
For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame,
and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Endurance accomplishes every long-term goal but it plays out daily in the faithfulness of doing the mundane. Steadfastly make the commonplace choices!
When we address the obstacles of boredom, indecision, and doubts as they arise, we are able to run with perseverance and to keep our eyes fixed on our Lord Jesus.
Posted by Sharon R Hoover