In this section of scripture Jesus talks about the need for endurance at the time of the end. There are tough times ahead for those who come to Christ, but the reward is worth the effort.
Consider the photo on this page. This runner was exhausted at the end of his race, and unfortunately for him, he lost. But any sportsman who wants to compete and improve knows that they must get over it and get back into it. The very best sports people do not see loss as an end, but as a step on the journey towards winning.
As Christians we are seeking a better life. We are looking to win a better prize than competitors in a game or sports event. The apostle Paul talks about this in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, which I quote below.
24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.
25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.
26 Well, I do not run aimlessly, I do not box as one beating the air;
27 but I pommel my body and subdue it, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.
Like a finely tuned athlete we too must “pommel our body and subdue it” in a spiritual sense. We are to grow in Christ and part of that is to bear the fruits of the spirit. One of those fruits is self-control, which we must learn to exercise as we grow. We are fortunate that in Christ he gives us his Holy Spirit so that we can be guided and learn how to exercise self-control in all things.
Then too as Jesus said in the scripture in Mark, when we come up against opposition, especially in the persecutions of the last days, we do not need to answer back to any of the accusations that may be put against us, for the holy spirit will answer and provide us the words to say at the right time.
Jesus said to take heed to yourselves. Prepare to the extent that you can and make sure you pommel your body and subdue it as Paul said. Like athletes, we are in training, for the kingdom of God. And like athletes if we do not compete according to the rules, how can we be crowned victorious? Our purpose is to win this victory and be able to enter into God’s eternal kingdom. Let us focus on how we shall achieve that and not on the issues, problems and worries of this life. For this life is temporary and a better one awaits if we are patient and endure to the end.
Sure, its a tough call, but the prize is worth it. Look to Jesus, learn his ways and find the path that leads to life. When you are grounded and established in the truth, nothing will be able to take you out of the loving hands of God and our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
(Photo sourced from stock.xchng http://www.sxc.hu/ taken by Michal Zacharzewski SXC)