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In a sermon in Hebrews 12 a few weeks back, the preacher talked about a young man he knew who loved to run cross country. This young man was so committed to it that he made sure he was healthy and ready to run all the time, not just the time coming up to a race. He ate right, exercised regularly, and got plenty of regular sleep, making sure to keep himself in top condition even when it wasn’t running season. This made it much easier for him to run when it was time. I got to thinking about how sometimes we Christians could stand to be more committed in the race we run spiritually.

Sometimes we can treat our Christian race like a dentist appointment; we know all the things we should do to maintain ourselves, but we don’t always think about or do them very much until right before and right after a specific sermon or Bible study on the topic. Sometimes we treat our Christian race like a New Year resolution that we weren’t serious about keeping; we start off well, but once we realize this is going to take more effort than we thought over a longer period of time than we’d like, we end up letting go of the commitment. Sometimes we treat our Christian race like homework; we think we have plenty of time and procrastinate until the last minute, and then we rush to try being ready. Sometimes we treat our Christian race like amateurs treat a physical race; we start of eagerly only to find that we were more ready for a sprint than a long-distance run.

In 1 Peter 3:15-16 we are told to always be ready to give an answer for our hope and faith in Jesus. You can’t be ready to answer questions if you don’t learn the answers to those questions. You can’t show people reason from the Bible if you haven’t seen that reason for yourself. You can’t be ready for a race if you don’t train. You can’t be ready to take a test if you don’t study. You can’t be ready for a music recital if you don’t practice. Are there still going to be times when you trip up? Yes, but when you’ve already been preparing, tripping won’t go so badly as it would have if you weren’t preparing, and it will be easier for you to find the answer you’re looking for if you already know how to look.

Giving an Answer
Running the Race
Knowing the Bible
More Practice
Benefit and Consistent Work
Sore Muscles
Challenging Questions
You Are Allowed to Ask Questions