“…let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” -Hebrews 12:1
Here I am, sitting at a coffee shop, contemplating my nine years of being a Christian. About 9 years ago, I received a long-sleeve t-shirt from a Christian retreat for young people. In the front it says, “Winter Retreat 2009”, and it quotes a part of Hebrews 12:1 on the back. By God’s grace, I made it this far, not knowing how much left there is for me.
What do I really want to spend the time reflecting on? Of course, nine years felt like a vapor in the air because I do not remember every single minute of it. Otherwise, my mind may burst by thinking about all of that time that passed by. Nine years is a very long time in the human realm. A lot happened in that time span. One blog post is not sufficient to detail the major events in the last nine years of my life.
Therefore, my focus is making it to the end. From whatever memory from the last nine years enters into my mind, I want to utilize it to advance in the Christian life. The Lord may remind me of things in the past as a warning sign or as an encouragement to walk in obedience. There are certainly times when I feel like quitting due to the lack of victory in my life. But, God sets me free from the snares by His Word (John 8:32, Psalm 25:15, & Psalm 119:18). However, I can honestly say that my Christian life is not the best that it can be at this moment.
My current spirituality consists of me just trying to cross the finish line and into the gates of heaven. Yet, there are upward transitions. The Christian race is not set on a plain field with no mountains to face. Though I may have very dark seasons, there is still growing and maturing. It is certainly amazing and something that the flesh cannot reproduce. One lesson from God that I have been thinking much about is how the little things can kill and spoil (Song of Solomon 2:15 & Hebrews 12:1) and how the little things can also save (Matthew 17:20 & Luke 17:5-6). In the body, diseases start and form at the cellular level. Such a gross bodily illness can be caused by something we cannot see without the naked eye. Sin can act in such a way. The besetting sins and weights that can easily ensnare the Christian may appear small to the individual to the point that it can be forgotten. Consequently, that apparently small sin will give birth to death (James 1:15).
Thankfully, Christ is the author and finisher of our faith, and He promised He will finish what he started (Hebrews 12:2 & Philippians 1:6). Yet, He provides the means of grace to get me to the finish line, and it may appear small. Being exhorted and saved from a multitude of sins can come from a Bible verse texted to my smartphone or a short conversation with a Christian. Over a year ago, I called a brother for help in a time of temptation, and he apologized for not having any “magical” words of wisdom and truth for me as if he needed to tell me something profound to guard me against sin as it crouches against the door. I was perplexed by that response because I was not trying to look for something I never heard before. The reality is I constantly needed the same gospel and truth from the Bible for the past nine years, and I will still need to hear the same truths over and over again until I enter into glory. Medicine that can save someone’s life typically comes in a small package. Small pills are given to many individuals to help them live longer and endure the trials of diseases. Therefore, the reality of Hebrews 3:13 and James 5:20 does have a limit on the degree of exhortation and salvation. It can come in small potent ways or it can come in a grand fashion.
That is one of the most important lessons I have been meditating on for the past couple of months. May God help me to endure.