Have you ever tried to exercise, only to be discouraged by your lack of progress so much that you simply give up?
I have two daughters who run Cross Country–one for Comstock High School, and one for Paramount Charter Academy. They are an inspiration to me.
Neither one of them is the fastest on their teams, but each one of them understands a crucial thing: The key to improvement is not to simply compare themselves to the 1st place runner and take note of the distance between them–this can be discouraging and defeating. The key to improvement is to try to beat their own record–their “PR” every time. If they can continue to challenge themselves to improve each and every race they run, eventually they may be able to compete for the lead. If they choose instead to only look at the great distance between the current leader and themselves, it can be demoralizing to the point of giving up.
It seems to me that we approach our Christian Life like that too. We know we should read, study and apply the Bible with regularity, we know we should pray more, we even know that we should share the Great News about Jesus more! Sometimes though, that goal seems so far away from our reality that we give up. Maybe we decide we’re going to get up extra early every day to read the Bible. We sleepily make our way through Genesis, we survive Exodus, but then we hit Leviticus and we give up!
We start to pray for the love of God to fill our hearts more, and He moves us to share His love with a coworker. We finally get the nerve up and it goes poorly…we vow never to do it again.
We know that our ultimate example is Jesus, but we reason that–since we’ll never get there, we might as well just give up.
Let me encourage you: DON’T GIVE UP! Keep on starting anew! Keep on trying–out of your genuine desire to be closer to the Lord!
One of my favorite scriptures is Lamentations 3:22-23:
“The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.”
His ‘tender mercies’ are new every morning!
He continually gives us new starts!
We can try each and every day for a new beginning, and He will encourage us!
Let me put it this way: You know that the Goal of following Christ more closely is worth pursuing, and virtually anything that’s worth pursuing is going to take some effort and self-discipline. It will take commitment. It will take change.
There may be days that you are discouraged at your lack of progress. Don’t quit.
There are New Beginnings–because of God’s faithfulness–every day!