We signed up eagerly. We shot out of the block and sprinted for the first leg of the race. What a thrill it is to be out here. Now, we’re far into the race. Our legs hurt, our side aches and our legs are cramping. We have almost forgotten why we signed up to run this race in the first place.

      We’re too scared to quit and too tired to go on. If we simply stopped running what would people say about us? How would we cope with the humiliation of starting and not finishing? And yet we are much too tired to continue giving this thing our all. We’ve already spent all of our energy just getting to this point; how in the world can anyone expect us to keep this pace up until the end?

     If we can’t go on and can’t quit what options do we have? We can (and often do) simply become sluggish. We shift it into neutral and coast. No longer moving quickly, no longer pursuing the objective diligently we find a comfortable level of commitment and park ourselves there. We do the minimum required to stay in the race and resent anyone implying that we’ve compromised our commitment to faithfulness. We’ve been overcome by sluggishness.

      Sluggishness is dangerous because it fixates itself on the ABCs of our faith and refuses to move on to the perfection that the deeper lessons will produce. Sluggishness is dangerous because it severs our relationship with our Father and prevents us from bearing fruit for Him.

      Jesus defined faithfulness as radical obedience. He blazed the trail by setting the example of what  that means. He engaged His culture and suffered the inevitable consequences. He experienced what giving God your all in this fallen world really requires. He refused to compromise, quit or even slow down. He learned the value of obeying God even when it hurts. Now Jesus calls on each one of us to obey Him, to follow Him.

    You responded well. How are you doing now that the going has gotten tough? Are you still committed? Are you still giving it your all? Are you still rendering radical obedience unto God-or have you gotten sluggish?