Picture this: You’re watching someone prepare for a marathon. They are warming up, stretching, and maybe hopping from one foot to the other in anticipation. The atmosphere is electric. As they take one final deep breath, the gun goes off. Suddenly they bend their knees and leap as far as they can. After landing, they just squat down and jump again as other people run by them.
We would look ridiculous trying to leap our way through an entire marathon, so why do we assume that our faith journey should look that way? We want to experience these huge, defining leaps of faith without realizing that the small steps are just as important.
All of us want to run the faith race triumphantly, crossing the finish line straight into the arms of Jesus. We have a course to complete and a goal to meet. However, we also want to run “with perseverance”—steadfastly, purposefully, and tirelessly—which means our race should look more like a marathon than a sprint or series of leaps.
“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
4 Tips for Running a Marathon
- Stay Hydrated
The only way to keep from getting thirsty during a marathon is to tap into our well of living water, or the gospel of Jesus. That alone is what will eternally quench our yearning for direction, meaning, and happiness. When we are running through a drought of truth and grace, we stay hydrated by staying in the Word, soaking up the scriptures and receiving refreshment directly from the source.
But whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life. – John 4:14
- Stay In Your Own Lane
Don’t compare your journey with anyone else’s. There might be people running faster than you, slower than you, or right next to you. Don’t let yourself get prideful when you look at the person behind you. Don’t let yourself feel defeated when you look at the person ahead of you. And don’t depend on the person next to you to set your pace. We are each running our own race and we each have a unique calling.
Don’t compare yourself with others. Just look at your own work to see if you have done anything to be proud of. – Galatians 6:4
- Cheer For Other Runners
Don’t just be a passive spectator; be a witness. Bear witness to God and His faithfulness as you run your race by cheering for the other runners around you. Encourage them, lift them up, and offer motivation as they attempt to stay their course.
So cheer each other up with the hope you have. Build each other up.
– Thessalonians 5:11
- Celebrate Your Victories
Always celebrate your victories. Don’t pass over the small ones too quickly trying to get to the next big one. The first time you overcame a hurdle. The first time you thought you couldn’t possibly take another step, but then you did. Let those moments motivate you and remind you of God’s faithfulness. Sometimes those small, uncertain steps of faith are the ones that prepare you for the giant leaps. Don’t take them for granted.
“The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in His way.”
– Deuteronomy 20:4