“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.” — Hebrews 12:1-2
John Akhwari represented Tanzania as a marathon runner in the 1968 Mexico City Olympic Games. Having never trained at high altitudes, he started to struggle. At Mile 11, he cramped and fell. Weary and injured, he got up and kept running. An hour after the gold medal was awarded, John entered the stadium. Those remaining in the arena cheered as he crossed the finish line.
Reporters asked him why he continued to run. His answer: “My country did not send me 5,000 miles to start the race. They sent me 5,000 miles to finish the race.” John Akhwari was a man of perseverance.
Perseverance is defined as persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success. As believers we are encouraged to “run with perseverance the race set before us.” Life is full of difficulties and success does not often come as quickly as we would like.
How do we continue to run? Hebrews points to the example of Jesus. He persevered under opposition to fulfill His purpose of ensuring our entrance into God’s Kingdom. He modeled a consistent reliance on the Father. Jesus persisted by keeping His eyes on the reward at the finish line and having His strength renewed through consistent fellowship with the Father.
What marathon are you currently running? What is making you weary? Follow Christ’s example. Keep your eyes on the ultimate goal. Gain strength from your relationship with God. Run with perseverance the race set before you.
— Karen Zando, NWSL’s Orlando Pride chaplain
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