Recently I saw two joggers pass by on the same street within minutes of each other. The first was a tall, trim young man. His posture was upright and he moved along at a brisk pace. He made running look effortless.

The second man was well into middle age and quite gray-haired. He was shorter and heavier than his younger predecessor. His posture was a bit stooped and he proceeded at a slower pace. Running was obviously a great deal of work for him.

I immediately thought: “Good for both of them!” They’re both making an effort to maintain or improve their health and strength. They’re not allowing themselves to decline.

It’s not hard to see parallels to the Christian life. Maintaining our personal relationship with the Lord, walking in steadfast moral obedience to Him and actively serving Him all require ongoing attention and effort. If we continue to work at the various areas of our Christian life, we’re able (with God’s help) to maintain good spiritual health or even improve it. But if we allow ourselves to become spiritually undisciplined and inactive then naturally our spiritual health and vitality are going to decline.

Committed younger Christians often manifest considerable enthusiasm and exertion in their personal devotion, obedience and service to Jesus. It’s a joy to see them running their spiritual race with such eagerness and discipline.

Faithful older Christians who have been in the spiritual race for a lot of years are an inspiration to watch as well. They may no longer have the high levels of physical energy and emotional intensity that they possessed in younger years. They may need to pace themselves a bit more slowly. But they still have a strong desire and determination to maintain a close personal relationship with the Lord, to honor Him through their habitual obedience and to be useful to Him through their steady service.

To all committed Christians, younger and older, I say, “Good for all of you! Way to maintain good spiritual health and diligence in the various areas of your Christian walk. With God’s gracious, ongoing encouragement and enablement, let’s all continue to do so through the whole course of life’s journey.”

And to any Christians who realize they’ve declined a bit in their spiritual lives, let’s remember that it’s always possible to regain our spiritual health. As would be the case with regaining good physical fitness, so we can renew sound spiritual health by recommitting ourselves to the focuses and disciplines that we know will help to strengthen us spiritually.  

One reason I greatly appreciate and enjoy reading historic Christian biography is that it provides numerous examples of outstanding believers who served Jesus faithfully and fervently all through life, in both their younger and older years. We can receive much encouragement and guidance for our own spiritual lives by considering their commendable examples.

Copyright 2019 by Vance E. Christie

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