Watching the women’s 3000-metre speed staking event at the Olympics, I realized why I would never be a world-class speed skater. Never mind my complete lack of skating skills, or the fact I was already past the prime age for high performance sports; I simply would not push myself as hard and as long as these women were. To see them bend over after the race, coasting on momentum off the oval, exhausted from leaving every ounce of energy on the ice, I knew I would have given up long before I reached the finish line.
What amazed me even more was the consistency of the lap times. Over 400M, they consistently put up times that were within a second of the lap before. They both paced and pushed themselves so that at the end of seven-and-a-half laps, they would have put up the best time possible. The dedication that I was seeing was awe-inspiring.
In 2 Timothy 4:7 , Paul writes that he “finished the race”, and the metaphor seems perfect. Walking with Christ is an endurance race and, at least at times, a struggle. It takes devotion and perseverance, commitment and resolution. There will be times when it will seem far easier to give in to temptation or neglect dedication. Most times, it is easy to justify – we get busy with “stuff”: family “stuff”, work “stuff”, holiday “stuff”, even church “stuff” and before we even realize it, we have lost focus on the One whom our sight should be fixed on.
Our aim should be the same as the skaters – consistency. Life is full of ups and downs; consistency is more a goal than a reality for most of us. It seems that just about every time I settle into a routine, something comes and disrupts it. Though we can’t control a lot that is going on around us, we can control certain aspects. If our aim is to have a consistent walk with the Lord, then we should practice consistency in our spiritual lives. This isn’t easy, in fact, lately it has been very difficult for me, but it is what we should strive for. Daily time spent in God’s Word and in prayer are key to finding this consistency.
While I will never have the speed skating ability or total disregard for my body’s cries of pain to finish an Olympic endurance race, I need to continue to “fight the good fight” so that I, too, can finish the race that God has put before me. If I keep my eyes focused on the prize and daily seek His will, I can be assured that one day I will be able to claim my crown in Glory.