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Imagine. You’re about to start a race. Oh, but wait. To even get to the starting line, you must first jump over a wall!
The shot is off now and you must go! Sprint one mile through the woods then hurdle through more obstacles every quarter of a mile. These obstacles include crawling under barbed wire that stretches the entire half length of a football field, carrying a 30 to 60 pound bucket of rocks for a quarter mile up and down a hill and then finishing the race by jumping over a fire pit.
Sound fictional? It’s not. This race is real and it has a name, The Spartan Sprint. It’s one of several intense Reebok Spartan Race experiences that participants can run.
My brother ran the Spartan Sprint in August 2016. He said that he wanted to “put his fitness to the test.” He finished the race in about three hours. He said that the race was taxing but there was nothing like the euphoria of finishing it.
My brother Trevor W. Goring, PT, DPT crossing the finish line!
Sometimes when I’m about to work out, a friend or family member will say, “Do some for me.” I know that they are just being funny but it made me think of a parallel. Often, we as humans think that something will simply “happen” for us without too much effort on our part. A prime example of this struggle is in regards to weight loss and physical fitness.
We all want to be in great shape, toned and healthy. But how many of us are willing to discipline ourselves, daily, to meet our health and fitness goals? The gym can be intimidating and we can be unmotivated to work out. But if you want results, you need to put in the work. Your dream body isn’t going to simply “happen” one day. You’ve got to work for it.
On the journey to your goals, there will be obstacles and situations that make you fearful. But that’s where faith comes in. Pastor Steven Furtick says this in his motivational video/song, “I Can Handle It”: “I can't afford to stay afraid or let my faith hesitate. My purpose is at stake and He who called me is faithful. His strength in me is greater than any pain I feel or enemy I face.”
Just like a healthy body doesn’t happen without effort, followers of Jesus Christ know that we must put in the effort to persevere through the trials of life and reach that finish line. This is what we must work on in our faith walk with God.
The good news is that we are not alone in our struggles. God is with us and we can do all things through His Son Jesus Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13). There is power in perseverance. Pastor Steven Furtick goes on to say, “If I don't stop short, if I won't sell out, it will happen by faith. But faith doesn't take the fear away; it teaches me to fight it. So bring the battle, I'm ready now. I got something for Goliath. I can handle it!”
The Spartan Sprint is filled with real obstacles that can be intimidating and feel impossible to overcome for the average person. But a true Spartan perseveres and finishes the race, claiming the victory, which is a medal that states they are a “Finisher”. Many people that I know wear that silver medal proudly because they are proud of being a finisher of the Spartan Sprint. It is a victory that is no easy feat.
It’s the same for Christians who are soldiers for Jesus Christ. Christians must persevere through trials and trust God to help them get through life. It is no easy feat to follow Jesus. But with God, all things are possible.
My brother is a Spartan Sprint Finisher and a soldier for Christ. He said something about his experience in the Spartan Sprint that drives my point of this devotional home:
“At the end of the day, it’s a choice you make to run the race. Nobody can do it for you.” ~Trevor W. Goring, PT, DPT
So, dear friends, run your race. Persevere. Keep the faith and finish the race.
In closing, I’d like to share this short video called “I Can Handle It”. Pastor Steven Furtick of Elevation Church is the voice for the video.