Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. -Hebrews 12:1
During a four month period in college, I lived in an old monastery that overlooked the picturesque city of Salzburg. In the basement of this old building was a ping pong table. Every day, Ernie, the ping pong champion, would challenge people to play. Two weeks later, after completely destroying the masses, no one would play him—except for me.
“Only a man who knows what it is like to be defeated can reach down to the bottom of his soul and come up with the extra ounce of power it takes to win when the match is even.” -Muhammad Ali
I was a mediocre player at best, but Ernie didn’t care. He just wanted to play. I don’t know if he just liked winning or if he had an insatiable love for ping pong, but I knew I could only improve by playing him. Over the course of the next four months, Ernie and I played hundreds, if not thousands, of games. I studied his style, his rhythm, even his eyes until eventually I started to hold my own against him. It took the full four months, but I started winning games and soon became an even match for Ernie.
The point: Ernie pushed me to be my best. If I had quit playing him like everyone else, or if I had chosen not to challenge myself then I would have never improved. If I hadn’t endured the regular beatings from him, I never would have raised my level of play. Who can push you to be better in your marriage? work? family? school? your prayer life?
God invites us to run the race He has marked out for us. The sooner you choose to stop worrying about the race everyone else is running, and start running yours, the sooner you will become the person God designed you to be. Focus on your race, trust God to help you with the challenges, and run toward the finish line.
Danny Ray is a Christian Illusionist that’s shares God’s Word at student ministry events, couple’s retreats, men’s retreats, and other ministry events. Promotional Poster for Danny Ray Christian Illusionist