There is a point in every long run or every race where your legs start talking to each other and agree that they’ve had enough.
The temptation to stop or to start walking becomes very strong. This is where perseverance comes into it. Vocabulary.com explains perseverance as follows:
The verb persevere comes from the Latin root “persevereus” which means “continue steadfastly, persist” and that word comes from two others, per- for “very” and severus for “strict.”
We have to be very strict with our legs and not allow them a say in the matter! (except if there may be an injury)
The Bible talks eloquently about it:
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. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV
Life is like a marathon. A life of persistent faith is hard. But we have support and advice.
- Support: We have witnesses. A great cloud of them. Those who have completed the race and persevered until the end. Like David and Moses and Abraham. A crowd clapping and shouting encouragement from the sidelines. Read the Bible to hear them!
- Advice: throw off things that hinder. Addictions, selfish pursuits.
- Advice: throw off sin – it entangles. Any type of sin is like this weed that grows on and around us and restricts our progress. Not just us, but also those around us, suffer. And what is sin? Anything that is not done out of love and faith. And even anything that our Friend (see Jesus) would want us to do, but we don’t. Lying, cheating, hurting, not caring, not helping, not protecting.
- Advice: run with perseverance. The route is marked out by the One that went ahead of us.
- Support: our coach, our example has done it. Jesus perfected faith and pioneered this life of love and faith. We need to fix our eyes on Him. He overcame sin. He persevered through suffering and death, rose again and had the victory! If we consider Him, we will not grow tired and give up.
There you have it. We can persevere. When your legs start discussing your sanity, silence them. When the devil or a “friend” or your own desires tempt you to do what you know is wrong, consider Jesus and what he would have done. Resist and silence those voices with prayer and embrace the free, unentangled life of perseverance.