Years ago when I annually climbed Mt Adams, I was climbing up a very steep glacier, and just before getting to the top of the glacier which took me over an hour of climbing to do, I slipped and slid clear to the bottom in about 2 minutes. I then had the choice of climbing it again, going around it, which was much less steep but longer, or quitting and going back down the mountain to where the car was parked, taking a nap in the car until the rest of the climbers in our group got back. I chose going back, and taking a nap. That slide down that glacier, after all the effort to get almost to the top totally demoralized me, and I was totally unmotivated to do any more climbing that day.
That kind of experience happens in life a lot, in school, in sports, in business, in relationships, in our character growth, and in our spiritual growth. We faithfully do all that we need to do to move up, grow, and accomplish over a long time, and then we slip, and in just the blink of an eye we are back where we started. Those who have addictions will work hard to conquer it and then in a moment of weakness go on a binge and lose all that they gained. I lost 40 lbs once over a number of months and then gained it all back in a fourth of the time it took to lose it.
The same is true in our spiritual life and growth. We faithfully read the Bible every day, pray, attend church, and get involved in a ministry, and feel ourselves growing in real intimacy with God, and then we go on a vacation and do nothing spiritual because, after all we are on vacation, and we feel confident that we will easily pick up where we left off when we get back. But it is not as easy as we thought and we find ourselves struggling to be faithful and consistent in the basic spiritual disciplines, and because of the difficulty and struggle to regain what we seem to have lost we just quit, what the Bible calls “fall away”. Hebrews 4:1 says, “Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it.”
I am getting closer to the end of the race, and I don’t want to mess up now, I want to finish strong, in fact I want to accelerate and finish at a sprint the race that is my life.