I thank God as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy. I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:37
I ENJOY training and competing in mostly shorter-distance events called sprint triathlons (300-meter swim, 13-mile bike race, 5-kilometer run). However, the ultimate professional triathlon is an Ironman (2-mile swim, 112-mile bike race, 26.2-mile run). Male and female Ironman athletes are out of my league. I marvel at their passion, power, and self-discipline. While I lack the physical gifts or the mental makeup to pursue a long-course triathlon, a pat on the shoulder and an encouraging you can do it from an Ironman competitor always feel great.
The apostle Paul was the Ironman champion of the church. When I feel out of my league, or not up to the task, I let his encouragement buoy me. Whatever course Ive been called to pursue, I know that the Holy Spirit can supply me with all the love, self-discipline, and power that I need. Again and again, Paul reminds me that God is the source of our spiritual endurance.
Thank you, Lord, for giving me the spiritual stamina to face lifes challenges today.
Jon D. Nutter is the pastor of Hucrest Community Church in Roseburg, Oregon.