The other night, my husband and I watched one of my favorite movies, Chariots of Fire.
For those of you unfamiliar with the story, it’s about Eric Liddell who ran for England in the 1924 Olympics. He trained for several years for the chance to represent God and his country at the games, but when the Olympic schedule was released, it was revealed that the 100 metres, Liddell’s best event, was on a Sunday.
His moral convictions would not allow him to break the Sabbath by running so he refused to do so. Instead, he spent the few months before the Olympics training for the 400 metres.
Though his best time in training was still inferior, he went on to win the event. When asked how he managed the win, he answered, “The secret of my success over the 400 metres is that I run the first 200 metres as hard as I can. Then, for the second 200 metres, with God’s help, I run harder.”
Liddell’s choice to honor God was difficult. His way would have been so much easier had he chosen to compromise, even a little. Instead, he treated the 400 metres the same way he treated the sprint, and ran full out, giving everything to God.
I’m not like that. I’m always trying to find the easy way out.
Right now I feel backed into a corner where the only way out is through God’s deliverance.
But God has been revealing to me that this is the best place to be.
I have the promise that the outcome of these trials is going to be for my good and God’s glory.
Life is supposed to be hard. I’m not trying to be pessimistic or defeatist. I know that God works beautiful miracles in people’s lives and I’m fully expecting Him to do that for me.
But if life isn’t hard, if I choose the easy road every time, I’m going to miss God’s best for me.
Too often, I settle for mediocre. I want to pace myself in the race of Faith, maybe even turn it into a nice stroll. God gives me a choice between doing only enough to get by, and really seeking Him. Really running after Him like there’s no tomorrow.
Guess which path I usually choose.
It’s not the path I really want. I want to chase after God. I want to seek Him in all things and above all things. I want to become breathless in my pursuit of Him. And that’s difficult.
Seeking God is not easy. It’s not supposed to be. Because if it were, then I could do it all by myself and I would get the glory instead of Him.
I’m sick of settling for the easy way when I could have God’s way. I’m sick of being afraid when I could glorify God by trusting in Him. I’m sick of ‘serving’ Him from inside my comfort zone when He is calling me to step out and seek Him, the hard way.
The Christian faith is a marathon, not a sprint. However, that does not mean I should pace myself, save my energy, and take it easy. I should treat it like a sprint because I don’t know where the finish line is.
The Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak (Matt. 26:41). Honestly, I’ve been trying to in my own strength to run my hardest and now I’m just tired. I’m tempted to stop racing and take a leisurely stroll instead.
But I want that prize. (1Cor.9:24)
I want to hear “Well done, good and faithful servant.”(Matt.25:23)
I want my crown to cast before the King.
I’ve run as hard as I can. So now, with God’s help, I’m going to run even harder.