When The Going Gets Tough…, Part 4of5, Evans Olang

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2Timothy 2:1-13, vs. “2 ..You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ”

We looked at the life of a Christian as a SOLDIER, to continue I will share on a life of a Christian as an ATHLETE.

Vs. 5, “And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules”. In Kenya we have a tribe the Kalenjin’s mostly known for their long distance running. Long distance running calls for vigorous training, endurance, and strive. Endurance does not come without proper hard work and skillful preparation. Long distance race as they call it is long, very few finish, only those who endure till the end.

It’s one thing to run, it’s another thing to run according to the rules. The marathon runners face tremendous challenges in their run, sometimes they run down the valleys, up the mountains, under the scotching heat of the sun, on rocky grounds among other conditions. They are ready for obstacles ahead, they are aware of it but their thought is on the finish line. That calls for endurance. They don’t allow themselves to be distracted on the way. They don’t let life’s challenges slow them down or even cause them to take an exit. They know where they started from and must finish the race despite the trying times.

To run the race of life one does not break God’s rules and get away with it. As the umpire of the game of life, God calls the fouls real close! Matthew Henry says, “We are striving for mastery, to get the mastery of our lusts and corruptions, to excel in that which is good, but we cannot expect the prize, unless we observe the laws. In doing that which is good we must take care that we do it in a right manner that our good may not be evil spoken of.”

Hebrews 11 gives us the heroes of our faith without hiding their scars. Dig deep in their stories and find “endurance” in their race. They were no strangers to obstacles. Part of their running according to the rules was to face trying times, even David said, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him from them all”, Psalm 119:71 (paraphrased), we are afflicted in this race by numerous things, but we endure.

To cross the finish line is your sign of faithfulness and to get there may call for suffering. Timothy would have to comply with the ministry’s “rules,” which included the possibility of suffering, while promising a great reward. 1Corinthians 9:24-27, “24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. 25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. 26 Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. 27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.” 

We therefore must endure hardship as an athlete and finish this race before us according to the rules if we are to gain a crown. When the going gets tough, don’t take exits, don’t quit the race. Don’t you realize you are far from where you started? You have gone too far to go back, you’ve gone too deep to go back to the harbor. Romans 13:11, “.. for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed” ,To finish, blessings Ev

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