Stamina: Strategically increasing our stamina gives us the strength to finish well

Stamina is an urgent need if we are going to finish the race that the Lord has set before us. Therefore, we must increase our stamina.Running man.jpg

To illustrate what I mean by increasing stamina, let me use my friend as an example. My friend runs long distances and has a trainer. When she began training for her first marathon, her trainer explained to her that she would have to increase her stamina by 10% every week – and no more. Her trainer strategically increased her body’s muscular ability to handle longer distances by making gradual and consistent demands on her stamina. He gradually increased the distance that she would run and then the pace that she would run each new distance. His goal was to prevent her body from collapsing and becoming injured. Injury caused by overzealous training would backfire and take her out of the race completely. But by the same token, not pushing her level of stamina consistently enough would cause her to be underdeveloped when faced with the pressure of race day.

The same is true for us in the things of the spirit. We must consistently and strategically increase our stamina in the things of God. But let me say this: increasing stamina is never fun and it requires focus and self-discipline. It requires vision for the goal that we wish to attain. Do you wish to be closer to the Lord? Do you wish to hear His voice more clearly? Do you wish to shed unwanted habits or sin? Then increasing your stamina in prayer, in worship, and in directing your thoughts toward God will be key. Coming into His presence regularly and increasing the amount of time that you can focus your thoughts, your worship and your praise upon Him is critical for increasing our spiritual stamina.

When working out, I have found that increasing my stamina has often seemed impossible. When my trainer asks me to push harder at the point that my tank seems empty, I have a choice to make: Will I push past the discomfort to reach the new goal or will I lay off and just pretend I’m working hard? I have actually experienced times where I have felt like vomiting because my physical stamina is depleted yet I am pushing myself that extra little bit. But then, the next time I go to work out, I feel the difference! Where previously I would have begun to fatigue, I am now able to press past that point easily. I have pushed out my Finish Line. It’s a wonderful thing when you feel strong physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  But strength only comes through exercise and consistency.

There is a humorous commercial here in the United States for a medication. In this commercial you see people doing things one time. The voiceover in the advertisement says something like, “Wouldn’t it be nice if you could eat one vegetable and be healthy for the rest of your life?” And on the screen you see a person lift a fork holding one piece of broccoli. Then the voiceover says,  “And wouldn’t it be nice if you could do one push-up and be strong for the rest of your life?” And then you see a gentleman do one pushup in a gym and pick up his gym bag and walk out. The commercial is touting the fact that you can get only one of this company’s vaccinations and be protected from a certain ailment for the rest of your life. The only reason this commercial could be even slightly catchy (it’s better when you see it, trust me!) is because we know that this advertisement’s examples (eating one vegetable and doing one push-up) are preposterous. We know that the only way to increase and maintain the health and stamina that we have is through consistency and self-discipline. We have to go against what our physical flesh desires to achieve what the spirit wants. But wouldn’t it be nice if we could have the “one and done”!?

God has put desires for more of Him on the inside of us, but we live in a natural body that will fight our higher goals and desires. The question we need to ask ourselves is are we going to allow laziness, complacency, apathy, or woundedness hold us back from achieving all that God has for us? There are deep things of God that he desires to reveal to us. There is a destiny that He has laid up for us that will not come easily. There are mysteries hidden for us to find.  But those mysteries will not be uncovered except through consistent prayer, fasting and worship. Stamina that feeds consistency will only be increased through self-discipline.

Our ability to press into the Father’s Heart can be increased when we see the goal and we discipline ourselves to increase our stamina little by little. I know many Christians who have been like fireworks on the 4th of July. They put on a beautiful display for a period of time and then they fizzle out until they are just a memory. That has always scared me! The cry of my heart ever since I was a new Christian is that I will finish well. I have always been good at starting things in my life, while finishing tasks and projects and even maintaining friendships was a serious challenge for me. But my relationship with Jesus is not something I am willing to fail at. Therefore, I am committing myself to increase my stamina in prayer, increase my stamina in fasting, and increase my stamina in obeying the voice of the Lord the moment I hear him speak.  I want to win the prize that is my high calling in Christ. I pray the same for you.

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be upon your heart and mind to increase your stamina for pursuit, for passion and for more of His presence in your life. In Jesus name, Amen.

Now you:

  • What does an increase in stamina look like for you?
  • Could you study the Bible more consistently during the week?
  • How about joining a Bible study and attending faithfully?
  • What about increasing your church attendance or serving in a ministry that requires you to be faithful?
  • What about fasting?
  • Or putting on worship music and stretching the amount of time you can keep your mind from wandering while you praise God in song or prayer?
  • What about waking up 15 minutes earlier to have more time with God before your day gets started?

These are a few of the ways that you can increase your spiritual stamina in pursuing Jesus and in remaining faithful to your high calling in Christ.  Remember, nothing in this world is worth missing out on all that God has laid up for you in Christ.  This life will be over in a blink and then you’re in eternity.  Are you training for that?

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