In the letters of the New Testament we find many references as to how we can gain victory with Christ. For one thing, we read how Apostle Paul takes stock of his life: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness” (cf. 2 Timothy 4: 7-8). Therefore, when it comes to faith, gaining the victory does not mean being better than everyone else, but rather enduring to the end and reaching the goal.
The letters to the Corinthians (9: 25-26), to the Hebrews (12:1), and to the Philippians (3: 13-14) likewise refer to the image of an athlete or a race. These passages provide insight to us in our endurance training. Accordingly, those who wish to endure until they reach the goal must
- know the goal: our desire is to enter into eternal glory. To this end we must come to resemble Christ more and more all the time. Do we occupy ourselves enough with this?
- keep their eyes focused on the goal: let us not allow ourselves to be deterred from pursuing our course by the cheers or boos on the side-lines.
- divide the distance into manageable segments: we do not need to be discouraged when we find we are still such a long way from acquiring the nature of Jesus. We can always resolve to focus on a single characteristic and live in accordance with it very conscientiously for a while.
- allocate their strength properly: those who find their life of faith too taxing might try treading more lightly when it comes to natural things and concentrating on the spiritual instead.
- get rid of ballast: guilt and irreconcilability make it difficult for us to make progress. Let us always seek forgiveness and in turn also grant forgiveness!
- keep to their diet: what sort of nourishment helps us in our course of faith? Let us only supply our souls with that which strengthens us enduringly. Above all, this includes the word of God and Holy Communion.
“Being there is everything”—so runs a familiar Olympic slogan. When it comes to our life of faith, however, “sticking to it is everything” is the thought that counts. Let us be inspired by the call to action recorded in 1 Timothy 6: 12: “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called.”