A New Year's Goal That Brings Lasting Rewards

I recently read about a man named David Goggins, a former Navy SEAL, who competed in the 135 Mile Badwater Ultramarathon. The course starts at 282 feet below sea level in the Badwater basin in California's Death Valley and ends at an elevation of 8,360 feet at Whitney portal, the trailhead to Mount Whitney. Goggins decided to do this after finding out it is one of the 10 most difficult feats on the planet. After a near death experience the first time, he went on to race again and was in the top 5 finishing the race. He had been in the top 5 several times in this race, besides being a top contender and winning several other grueling long distance races.

According to one of his Instagram posts, Goggins wakes up every morning at 3:00am for a 20 mile run, and then he bikes another 20 miles to work. He runs during his lunch break whenever possible, and then it's another 20 mile bike ride back home before weight training with his wife in the evening.

As you can imagine, this takes some incredible discipline of the body and mind to continue on and not give up. Many of these athletes or competitors will do very difficult things to obtain a prize or fame at the end. Through rigorous training, when they achieve what they set out to do, a great sense of accomplishment results.

Many times during the new year, we decide to do something which takes extra discipline that we haven't accomplished before or we focus on something new to help us better our lives. But discipline and focus are something that many of us have difficulty with in an ongoing way. It can be hard to break patterns that are different from the norm in our life. When we endure and push through, our motivation becomes higher.

Paul, one of the biblical writers said, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.” 1 Corinthians 9:24-25

So what kind of prize is Paul talking about? A “crown” that will last forever? He is talking about the focus of sharing the Good News of Jesus to all from different walks of life so they have an opportunity to have a right relationship with God. It’s the greatest reward that lasts forever! When we focus our lives on introducing others to Jesus, encouraging them to place their faith and trust in Him, they are the eternal crown. They will experience the true life and joy of Jesus with you in the presence of Him.

This kind of life takes focus and discipline. It is easy for us to focus on the pleasures and things that only fade away in this life. When we make Jesus our focus, we learn how to share the Gospel story in many ways that will relate to those of many backgrounds and struggles. We become purposeful with those with whom we interact. We focus on giving of ourselves and serving others from the love that Christ gave us.

Do you want to focus on a prize that will last forever? Let’s remember our purpose to advance God’s Kingdom by sharing our lives and the Good News of Jesus in a purposeful and enduring way. When we stand before Jesus we will see the crown of all those who had longed for His appearing. What eternal joy that will be.
Posted in

Mark Anderson