• The Crossing

Devotion day 22

DAY 22

Long Distance Christianity

In the New Testament the Apostle Paul refers to our Christian life as a special kind of journey – a race!

In Philippians. 3:13, 14, he writes: “…forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” And in 2 Timothy 4:17, writing of the end of his life, he tells his spiritual son, “I have finished the race.”

The writer of Hebrews says it this way – “Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Hebrews 12:1. He is thinking of a certain kind of race – not a sprint but a marathon (long distance) race.

The Christian life is not a hundred-yard dash…but more like a marathon!

During the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, runner John Stephen Akhwasi of Tanzania competed with seventy-four other world-class runners. Akhwasi did not win the race. Actually, he came in last! But he is remembered for how he ran the race. Halfway through the marathon, Akhwasi fell and badly injured his leg, dislocating a joint. After a few minutes on the ground, John Akhwasi did what most runners would never do. He picked himself up off the ground, strapped up his leg, and continued to run. About an hour after the winner had crossed the finish line, and with only a few thousand spectators left in the stadium, word got out about what had happened to Akhwasi. He was still running! When he finally entered the stadium, his leg was bloodied and bandaged. Every step caused him to wince in pain. But the remaining crowd began to clap. He turned the curve, and the crowd grew louder. As he approached the finish line and hobbled across, they cheered wildly as if he had won the race.

Afterward, when the press asked him why he ran through the pain, despite the fact he could not win, Akhwasi looked perplexed. “I don’t think you understand,” he said. “My country did not send me seven thousand miles to start the race. They sent me seven thousand miles to finish the race.”

The Christian life is as Eugene Peterson described it in his book on the Psalms, “a long obedience in the same direction.” It’s a marathon. It requires commitment and discipline to the very end.

“As you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him.” Colossians 2:6

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