Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne.
Hebrews 12:1-2 (HCSB)
Why Last Mile?
God’s Calling in our Lives
As the video above points out, we as Christians we are called throughout scripture to follow Him. This calling is to share the Gospel and to make disciples. It is to act justly, love faithfulness and walk humbly. It is to pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Over and over again God implores us to give up our pursuit of this world in exchange for pursuit of His Kingdom.
How many of us live
Despite God’s call for us as Christians to lay down our lives in our pursuit of Him, we find that the prevailing situation in the Church today is men who are often spiritually disengaged, women who are trying desperately to pick up the slack, and children who buy into a mindset that has been called Moralistic-Therapeutic-Deism. A Church that should be marked by suffering for the glory of God and the furthering of the Gospel and His Kingdom is instead marked by comfort, laziness, apathy and ego.
What it Means to Live in the Final Mile
Considering all of this, God has led me to develop a Biblical mentality that separates itself from the widespread “American Dream” version of Christianity that I have seen so pervasive in the Church today. This is not an attack against any one person or teaching, rather it is an attempt on my part to resist the temptation of believing the lie that God’s best for me or my family is in any way here on this earth (whether that be possessions, status or happiness). He’s already given His best, and my desire is to live in such a way that I embrace Him with every breath that I take.
We are in the day of waiting
Christ promised to return and said that until that Day comes, we should remain prepared for His return. Think about two expecting parents, they do everything thing they can to prepare themselves by reading books, taking classes, painting the nursery and making frequent trips to the doctor. These parents-to-be are constantly focused on the arrival of their baby, and their lives reflect this. As the day approaches, they hurry to make every conceivable preparation possible. As Christians, we know that we are waiting for the return of Christ, yet if our lives do not reflect this truth, then either we do not really believe He’s coming back OR that there is anything we should be doing to prepare for his return.
We are nearing the end
Just as those expecting parents increase their preparations the closer it gets to their due date, Christians should live in such a way that acknowledges that Christ return today is closer than it was yesterday and in fact closer than it has ever been. Our lives should show this in everything, from how we raise our children to how we go about our daily jobs. If Christ could return at any moment, what am I doing right this second to prepare the way for Him? How am I living with His Kingdom in mind?
We need to continue with endurance
Anyone who has ever run in a long distance race knows that it is difficult and requires endurance in order to finish. Endurance is the ability or strength to continue or last, especially despite fatigue, stress, or other adverse conditions, which in many ways is a beautiful description of the Christian life. Faith in Christ is not like an inoculation like a flu shot that you receive one day and move on afterwards knowing that it’s somewhere in you, instead faith in Jesus is more like a journey with all kinds of dangers, difficulties, storms, twists and turns along the way.
The Last Mile is the Toughest
In a race, the last mile is always the toughest. This is certainly something we can experience in running a long distance race like a marathon, but interestingly enough, the term Last Mile is also used in telecommunications networks referring to the final leg of delivering connectivity from a communications provider to a customer. For these telecommunications networks, this distance (which is usually considerably more than just a mile) is the most difficult leg of the process because it requires taking a single signal and fanning it out over a large area. To me, this gives me yet another picture of the Christian life, that in this time period of waiting for the return of Christ we are striving with endurance and considerable effort to get the Gospel to every tribe and every nation in some of the most remote places of the earth (or perhaps it’s to the person that lives next door to you).
All of this is for the glory of God.
This is why I live my life in the last mile.