What happens in races and battles?
I tend to see only the good things. I see others winning, exercising faith, earning glory and fame. They're clean, and look the part of the winner.
Me? I'm exhausted, covered in shame, feeling humiliated when I see how much better they are.... Fearful of losing. I fall in the mud time and time again. Sometimes getting so discouraged I willfully throw myself in the mud, and start thinking about crawling back to the last mud puddle I fell in....
When I've fallen, I see the others running past, in all their glory. There I sit in all my mud, blood, and shame, and I don't think I can ever make it. There is no fixing it. Perfection is remaining clean. I'm filthy. I'm bruised and bleeding. Mostly from self inflicted wounds. How can I ever finish?
It's not about finishing in pristine condition. It's not about winning with all sorts of pomp, and glory.
"When we feel the stirrings of the sinful nature raging in us, we ought to grasp the sword of the Spirit - that is, the Word of salvation. Then we will undoubtedly be victors, though we will feel the total opposite as long as the battle lasts." ~ Martin Luther
It's about finishing.
"Rise to the occasion; do the thing. It does not matter how it hurts as long as it gives God the chance to manifest Himself in your mortal flesh." ~ Oswald Chambers
- It's about enduring.
- Not. Giving. Up.
- It's about picking yourself up again.
- Getting back in the race.
- Getting back in the fight.
In the end, we're not rewarded for how "wrinkle free" our running suit is, or how shiny our armor is. We're rewarded for our faithfulness. We're rewarded for overcoming.