“GO AARON!! A-A-RON! You can do it! Don’t give up!!”
I recently participated in a race where they print your name on your race bib. This has the effect of allowing everyone watching and cheering to call you out by name and encourage you. It really was amazing to be cheered on and encouraged by name every step of the way. I had family travel to watch and support me. Former youth group students returned from college to see me cross the finish line.
I see friends making hard decisions every day that cost them friendships, opportunities, glory, or pleasure, simply so Jesus can be glorified.”
As I ran I was overwhelmed by spiritual reflections. First, of all the times I have run, trained, or exercised it was never as easy to ignore pain and push on as it was that day. Although pain is the predominant thought and feeling when I run, the presence of constant encouragement made it take a back seat to focus, purpose, and hope.
Secondly, I thought of how so much of what we are called to do in the Christian life is much more challenging and difficult than pushing ourselves physically, and yet so often it is done without a word of notice, encouragement, support, or help. I immediately began to think of all the students and families I serve.
The high school girl who decides to wait a little longer before dating because she wants a stronger identity in Christ.
The student who has to find a new group of friends because the group he grew up with and loves has decided to walk a path away from life.
The young men who humble themselves and confess an addiction to pornography to a caring adult.
Parents who leave behind a career so they can be present in the lives of their children and guide them as they seek to follow Jesus.
I see friends making hard decisions every day that cost them friendships, opportunities, glory, or pleasure, simply so Jesus can be glorified. I am challenged this summer to cheer them on. I am challenged to show up and tell my friends, “I’m proud of you! Don’t give up! I’m with you!”
As Hebrews 3:13 says, “Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” Let’s show up in the lives of our friends and family. Let’s call on each other by name and say that we see the love and the cost and it is beautiful. May the deceitfulness of sin take a back seat as we live focused, purposeful, and hopeful lives with our eyes fixed on Christ.