“And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” — Hebrews 12:1-2
In college, I wanted to break 20 minutes in the 5K. All my workouts pointed to sub-20 results, but in a race I just couldn’t do it. Finally, in the last race of the season, my coach enlisted my teammate to pace me through eight laps. She would run eight laps at the pace I needed to run to break 20 minutes, and I would do the ﬁnal four on my own. In that ﬁnal race, I kept my eyes on the back of her head for eight laps. She ran consistent times, and I hung on for dear life.
The beauty of the pacer is that once you do eight laps at that pace, your only responsibility is the mental fortitude for four laps. And once she stepped oﬀ the track and I had open space in front of me, I ended up notching down to an even quicker pace, running 19:26. I had had the ﬁtness all along, but I didn’t believe I could do it. I didn’t have the mental strength to go 12 laps at the pace I wanted to without being overwhelmed by the what-ifs. But with my eyes focused on my pacer, I could go the distance.
I think sometimes we approach the discipline it takes to walk with the Lord this way. We think, “I’m going to read my Bible every day.” And then we do it — for two days. Then our kid gets sick, or work gets crazy, or we forget. And then we’re straggling our way across the line, guilty, ashamed and overwhelmed by our failure.
Or maybe we decide we’re going to forgive someone and heal a wound we’ve had for years. We pray about it, we feel relief, we give it up to the Lord. But then we see them, or we’re reminded of it. And we’re looking around at the circumstances, instead of staring at Jesus and letting Him show us the way. There is a reason Paul likened our faith journey to a race: Once we take our eyes oﬀ the prize, we’re gonna slow down, and lose out, and forget what we’re doing all this for.
In my races without a pacer, there was always somewhere else to look. There was always something else in my brain telling me that I couldn’t do this. Instead of sticking to the plan, and the pace, I looked around and lost my way.
Having a pacer gives us a consistent place to look, follow and run after. Let God be the pacer for you in this race of life. Let Him tick oﬀ those miles toward righteousness, while you hold on for dear life to His pace. It is the only way to keep going, the only way to win the race set before us.
How can you better ﬁx your eyes on Jesus today?
— Ondi Mejia
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