Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. – Hebrews 12:1[spacer] The writer of these passages encourages us to keep our eyes on Jesus so we can finish the race. Distance running, whether it be in a race using our physical bodies or for our souls, presents challenges on a daily basis. The same kind of strategies that people who train for marathons use can help us understand how to be prepared to face the challenges we will encounter in the race of life. An athlete will equip himself with the best gear possible; items that are lightweight and won’t hold him back. Likewise, we must discard the things that hold us back or trip us up. We must also use discernment; the ability to distinguish between good and evil, right and wrong. As an athlete strives to know the coach’s will, we grow to recognize and respond to the will of God. [spacer] To stay in rhythm with God means we honor him with our bodies. Romans 12:1, “Offer your body as a living sacrifice.” An athlete continues to condition his body by not putting anything in it that would keep him from performing. We must keep out impurities of the world and use our bodies to serve God. Our goal is to keep our eyes on Jesus. Just as an endurance runner needs motivation and learns how to perfect his stride, we must focus on our prize. An athlete continues to practice basic skills and principles in his life and we must constantly practice basic principles over and over again. [spacer] Also in order to stay in rhythm with God’s we need to practice discipline or self-control. Discipline helps us create space for God. We are told in Psalm 37:7, “Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act.” So often we can’t get quiet because we continue to live in chaos. The voices around us and in us are constantly taking us off course and distracting us. We need to hear the voice of wisdom of God through scripture and meditation. As we are in tune with the word and will of God we must learn to examine ourselves on a daily basis. An athlete will constantly watch training tapes and tapes of self to see where he can improve. We too must look in the mirror of God’s word and make changes. By practicing these principles we will reach the finish line. In the Christian race everyone that reaches the finish line is a winner.