Hebrews 12:1 exhorts us: “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”
It is significant that the author adjures us to “run with ENDURANCE.” As has been often said, the Christian life is no “sprint”; rather it is a marathon. Many have seemed to begin well, only to falter and quit, demonstrating that theirs was no real commitment to The Lord (see Matthew 13 and the Parable of the Sower).
How many have “sprinted” off from a revival meeting, or a campground “high” or some other religious “experience” — only to see the fervor dissipate in a few days or weeks? While many place great emphasis on creating and receiving such emotional experiences, they are not truly the distinguishing mark of the genuine Christian life. Rather the mark of the true follower of Christ is perseverance. This means you continue to run the Christian race:
— when the spiritual “high” has worn off, and you no longer “feel” like it
— when you have been disappointed by other Christians
— when your life circumstances have turned against you
— when people oppose or persecute you
— when the disciplines of following seem like a drudgery
It is not necessary to “sprint” off the mark. What distinguishes the genuine Christian is that he continues. It is somewhat akin to the old story of the Tortoise and the Hare. It is not how fervently you begin that shows you belong to Christ — but that you continue to run with endurance!