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Stay the Course

by Charles R. Swindoll on July 7, 2006 in Articles

I’m jogging once again. Not serious marathon type running (not me!)…I’m just getting up a little earlier these days, heading out to the track, and putting one foot in front of the other.

There’s a wonderful simplicity to jogging. It’s an activity which doesn’t require much complicated equipment. You can jog almost anywhere, at anytime of day. A little bending and stretching and you’re off. You can even settle in at your own pace. Yet…at the very least there ought to be a goal. Something to strive for.

Most beginning runners try accomplishing too much too soon. This approach only leads to pain and injury. Others run fervently for a few days, see no results, then throw in the towel early. Both approaches lack the same necessary ingredient: a focused goal.

The running gurus stress keeping a chart which shows progress. When a runner sees progress and goals being accomplished, the exercise becomes more productive. Instead of running for no apparent reason, the runner is now moving toward a target. In fact one of the reasons I enjoy running is seeing the health benefits when I visit the doctor’s office for my annual physical. I’m not striving for gold medals or blue ribbons; I’m simply hunting for a clean bill of health.

I find many parallels with running and the Christian life. In living the Christian life we, like runners, are striving for a goal. But what is the goal in the Christian life? Like inexperienced runners, the new believer may get the impression that living the Christian life is about performing for God. Just like the new runner gets sore muscles and pulled hamstrings, the believer who assumes the goal of the Christian life is performance ultimately encounters burnout of the soul.

Happily, the apostle Paul gives us a finish line, a determined purpose, worth striving for. He states it clearly in Philippians 3:10,

that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death (NASB).

That’s it, isn’t it! Intimacy with Christ... the ultimate goal of the Christian life. If you’re calling yourself a Christian, if you’re taking on the name of Christ, if you’re becoming a Christ follower, you’d better get to know Christ…intimately! In fact, I believe the goal of the Christian life is knowing a Person not accomplishing a series of tasks.

In this issue of Kindred Spirit you’ll read about striving for the goal. Our creative team has put together another outstanding issue guaranteed to stimulate your thinking. So, as you read through this edition, ponder the following question along with me: “Do my activities lead me to a greater or lesser intimacy with Jesus Christ?”

See you on the jogging trail!

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