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Most marathon participants do not run to win the race, but to gain a more personal "prize" such as meeting a personal finish time or placement within a gender and age group—or to just finish. Typically, there is a maximum allowed time after which the marathon route is closed. Anyone who has not made it to the finish line by then is picked up by a sweeper vehicle.

As Christians, we are in a marathon of our own, and the stakes are higher than we can imagine. Believers must derive their spiritual strength and energy from the Lord to survive life's trials and persecution and finish the race faithfully. But for the Christian who perseveres, the reward of a lifetime awaits.

Jesus' purpose in life and death is unveiled in the Book of Revelation. He, like us, was born into this world helpless and dependent. Unlike most of us, He lived a sinless life and endured great pain on this earth to honor God’s will for His life. And death is not the end of the story for Him, or us. Eternity awaits us all. For some, the finish line is in view, where Christ will be waiting to welcome us. For others, the “sweeper vehicle” will pick us up at the end of the race and deposit us in a place far from God.

He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. Revelation 21:7 (NIV)

1. What does it take to overcome—to not become subject to the “sweeper vehicle”?

2. Is following Christ harder than you imagined it would be, and you're thinking about giving up?

3. When Christ returns for us, what will your inheritance be?

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