Two texts from our reading today remind me of the endurance needed in Christian life.
Mark 8:31-9:1 reminds me what kind of race I need to run. I am to run HIS race. It may the race of suffering and hardship, but that is the way of the King. We always have a “better” way for Jesus to direct us. Peter did. I do. It’s less painful that way.
The problem is that my way may not be the way of the King. His way is a way of denial. I don’t get “my way” (with no apologies to Frank Sinatra at all). Why do I want to gain something temporal? Why do I not hunger for the eternal? The way of the King is the way of giving up my silly, cheap goals to obtain the precious treasure of the Kingdom.
1 Cor. 9:19-31 also reminds me that it is a race to win. I can’t settle for simply crossing a finish line at some point in time and thinking, “Well, in life we’re all winners,” and settle for some participation trophy.
I must run to win. I must run, keeping in mind what Christ has called me to: to proclaim his great name. To do so in my context so I can communicate effectively the power of the Kingdom to those right in front of me.
That involves strict training. Lent is a time to reflect on strict training for me. It is a time to hone in and examine my weak habits and have the Spirit lead me into a new regimen of faith building exercises.
We need these reminders from time to time. Run the way of the King. Run to win.