To be successful as a runner or in any sport, you need to be disciplined. No, to be successful at ANYTHING one has to be disciplined. To convert talent to triumph, potential to performance, capacity to completion you have to stick to it, be strict with yourself.
This is also true for the spiritual life.
1 Corinthians 9: 24-27
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
But for a sportsperson, it is not just about putting in the hours. It is also about training intelligently and working on form and technique. We need a coach to help us see what needs to change. In the spiritual life, there is no better mentor than Jesus, who lived this life blamelessly, had victory over sin and death and received the prize.
We start the race when we receive his grace (like a bib) through faith in Him. We become more like Him (work on our form and technique) by keeping our eyes on Him and strictly following His leading. We will receive the prize if we persevere. And He cares for us. Even if we fall many times, he helps us up, never gives up on us.
One of the songs we recently learned in our fellowship says this:
His love never fails, never gives up, never runs out on me.
On and on and on and on it goes…