Eric Liddell went to the 1924 Olympics in Paris, and won the gold medal for the 400 meter race, setting a new world’s record. There was an Oscar winning movie about him called “Chariots of Fire.” When they asked him how he did it, he said, “I ran the first 200 as fast as I could, and then with God’s help, I ran the second 200 even faster.”
In other words, he exerted himself to the point of exhaustion, and when he could do no more, the Holy Spirit, who is Jesus, kicked in and finished the race.That must be what the Apostle Paul was talking about when he said, “When I am weak, them am I strong.”
Maybe that’s the point of the story in the Old Testament about the widow who used the last of her resources serving God. He provided her with an abundance of oil. It was enough to fill every vessel she had. In fact, it was more than enough. She had to send to the neighbors for more vessels to hold it all.
I’m sure you’re familiar with the footprints poster, and its message. There are two sets of footprints on the beach, and then there’s only one set. So the guy asked Jesus, “Why did you leave me?” And Jesus said, “That’s when I carried you.”
Most of us try to hop onto the Lord’s back right away, and expect him to carry us the whole way. But, there’s where we’ve been going wrong. It’s after you have exerted yourself to the extent that you’ve given it all you’ve got that Jesus supplies what you need to finish the job. For example, when you use up all the patience you have, he will give you more. When you use up all the love you have, he will give you more. When you use up all the faith you have, he will give you more. When you run out of hope, he will give you more.
The Apostle Paul compared living the Christian life to running in a race. It is strenuous, and it takes a lot a stamina to get through it. Salvation means more than just going to heaven when you die. It’s an ongoing process. Jesus is saving you from sin, the world, the flesh and the devil on a daily basis. This is what Paul says about it:
Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, (Philippians 3:13 NIV)
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. (Hebrews 12:1 NIV)
And at the end of his life, the Apostle Paul wrote these words: For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them that love his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:7)