Our whole life, then, needs to be committed to pursuing purity in everything we think, say, and do. We have been made blameless by His Son, but we still have a responsibility to live blamelessly until we become like Him in glory. And that must motivate us to pursue holiness in the fear of the Lord. As you fix your eyes on Christ, identify the sins that entangle you, repent, ask for His help to overcome them by His Spirit, and then take diligent effort to mortify them as we renew our minds with His holy Word.
You have been entered into the marathon. You have been given a number. You have taken your mark. The starting gun has been fired.
This particular marathon will prove to be much harder and longer than the norm. Twenty-six miles, shortness of breath, leg cramps, and moments of regret somewhere in the middle will seem mild comparatively. Because, while the race has a clear starting time and location, the end point plus the terrain and challenges in between is entirely unknown.
Single believer, how do you feel about being signed up for this marathon called “The Christian Life?” Unlike the tug of war where you are at the mercy of whichever team proves the strongest, the results of this event are entirely up to you. Instead of being stuck on a rope and mercilessly tugged back and forth, you are running to break a rope at the end of this marathon that says in big letters CHRISTLIKENESS. (Be honest…did you think I was going to say marriage?)
Whether you knew what you were getting yourself into or not, you’re in this race for the long haul. Therefore, it’s important to know how to run it well. How you train will make all the difference whether you’re on the track, in the mountains, or on the pavement at any mile marker (at least that’s what I have been told…).
So how do we train well and thus help ourselves continue pressing on regardless of what’s along the route?
Cultivate habits of godly obedience (1 Cor. 9:25-27; 1 Tim. 4:7-8).
Do you consistently practice the spiritual disciplines?
Do you regularly attend and serve the local church?
Men, do you seek to emulate the 1 Timothy 3 elder qualifications?
And women the Proverbs 31 woman?
Do you faithfully use your time and money?
Do you work for the glory of God?
Make these actions and attitudes a normal part of your training routine. Every good runner has specific exercises and diets to help increase their strength and stamina. Neglecting our spiritual muscles will only make it harder to get back into the routine or to run the race later as the terrain changes and the challenges come. Identify where you are weak and then discipline yourself to pursue obedience in that area. Let it become natural and a joy to open the Word, go to church on Sunday, be a faithful steward and servant, and let your light shine before men in all aspects of life.
Pursue discipleship (1 Cor. 11:1; Tit. 2:3-6; Heb 11:1).
Do you have at least one person in your life that you can learn from as you both seek to imitate Christ, either formally or informally?
Do you seek to gain wisdom from older saints in how to continue pursuing godliness?
Have you humbly acknowledged you desperately need others’ perspective into your training schedule to help you see your potential weaknesses?
Every good runner needs a coach. Take time to identify who can be that for you. Pray the Lord would help you find a man or woman in your life that is a little ahead of you in their race. Perhaps it’s a parent, a pastor, or an older saint.