Run. Pain. Run More. More Pain. Run!
Have you ever had a moment when you decided in your heart that your lifestyle had to change? For the next few days, weeks, or even months everything went well; you thought, “I have this thing beat” only to trip and fall on your face?
Many men start the effort to live a life of sexual integrity only to stop after a short burst of success. They start this effort for various reasons:
- They get caught
- Something occurs creating a fear of getting caught
- They attend a men’s retreat of some sort and God’s Spirit softens their hearts in a particular area
- They are tired of how their lives are going
- They are just sick of their own sin and want to change
But when the emotional feeling wares off they gradually find themselves back where they started. But this time they feel like a failure and tend to be worse than before they started.
People who decide to run a marathon and start out with a sprint, typically will not finish. When the race starts to get tough, they don’t have the endurance to complete the race. There is a difference between a 100-yard-dash and a marathon. The strategy and training is different. Life is not a 100-yard-dash, it is a marathon that does not end until we die.
As we continue our series on Sexual Endurance, let’s examine the last part of Hebrews 12:1.
“And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.”
The word “let” insinuates we have a choice in how we run the race. We choose how we will prepare for and how we run in the race. God does not force us to run, neither does he pull us; however, the Scripture does tell us that He is the one that places the desire inside of us to even consider the race.
People tend to fall into one of two personality categories: extravert or introvert. The extravert thrives on being around people, while the introvert prefers to be alone or with just a few people. It really doesn’t matter which one you are; unless you find yourself in the extreme of either one. Either way God has made us with the need for community. We need other people in our lives. Great athletes always have other athletes and coaches around them during their training, practices, and games. For us to be successful, we cannot be isolated.
We are to be moving forward in our relationship with God. We are to be continually developing a greater knowledge and understanding of the things of God. The man who believes in his heart, “there is a God,” but has not grown in his relationship with God, has only realized there is a race; he has not entered it.
This means having the power of bearing pain and hardships without quitting. There will be times in our lives that God’s wisdom will be difficult for us to understand. There may be times we feel all alone, as if God does not care about us, but we keep moving forward. If giving Jesus (His son) as a sacrifice for our sin, so we can have relationship with Him is all God does for us and he does nothing else, it is still worth serving Him.
If you are single and you never marry, a life of sexual integrity is a desirable pursuit. If you are married, and even after you work through your own issues and develop a track record of sexual integrity, your spouse is never interested in a thriving sex life with you; a life of sexual integrity is worth it.
A race suggests there is a finish line or a goal to reach. Our goal is to live and finish life well in the sight of God. When I listen to older men talk, many times they tell the stories of their lives and in these stories they try to find meaning or accomplishment. The men look back on their lives and hope they lived it well; that they did not waste their life. When we look at our lives from the end perspective, life priorities become different. We realize what we thought was important in life, typically was not.
-God Has Set-
We don’t have to develop the race. God has created the race, established the rules, and set guidelines. It is His opinion that matters when we cross the finish line. In this race we all will cross the finish line; we have no decision in that. We only decide how well we will finish.
We do not choose the race. God’s Spirit creates that desire within our hearts; however, after He creates that desire we have a responsibility to develop and pursue it. We decide if we will respond positively or not. We choose how well we will run the race.
Let’s start changing our perspective from:
- The day-to-day ups and downs of life TO the end of days—“Your life is like the morning fog–it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.” (James 4:14)
- This being my life TO my life belonging to God—“Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.” (I Corinthians 6:18-20)
- The short pleasure and escape your sexual sin provides TO a life of honor and integrity being worth any suffering—“It was by faith that Moses, when he grew up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to share the oppression of God’s people instead of enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin. He thought it was better to suffer for the sake of Christ than to own the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking ahead to his great reward.” (Hebrews 11:24-26)
- From God wants you to be miserable TO God wants the best for you—“Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4)