Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. (Hebrews 12:1)
At the beginning, a runner learns to build up endurance. A runner doesn’t compete in a 5K race two days after starting to run. No, the runner slowly builds up endurance training each day for that 5K race. Much like running a race, our journey as Christians requires endurance. Our trust and faith is built daily by abiding in Jesus.
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? (1 Corinthians 9:24)
In all races, the runners only have the finish line in mind. After crossing that starting line, there is no looking back. The training has prepared the runner for this race. Confidence propels the runner forward with a determined focus on the finish line. Likewise, the apostle Paul reminds the Corinthians that they are running the race and should focus on the prize Jesus has promised: eternal life.
If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. (Galatians 5:25)
All runners know his/her pace. Running coaches encourage runners to maintain a consistent pace throughout a race. The same is true in our journey as followers of Christ. Believers are given the Holy Spirit. If we are living by the Spirit, we are keeping pace with the Spirit. The Holy Spirit is similar to a running coach. He provides instruction and encouragement along the way.
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7)
What exactly is self-discipline? I love this particular definition.
the ability to pursue what one thinks is right despite temptations to abandon it
It is through the Holy Spirit that we have power, love and self-discipline. As we run our race well, we must continue to pursue what’s right despite the temptations the enemy throws our way. Despite his attempts, we will not abandon the race. Self-discipline will keep us focused.