When I was in college, I ran cross-country. Our competitions were held on area golf courses. Race officials placed flags on the course to mark the way for runners. A certain color indicated "left turn," another meant "right turn," a third meant "straight ahead."
If the runners wanted a medal, they had to follow the proper course. A runner couldn't decide, "This is a six-mile race, but I've only got four miles in me this morning. I'm going to take a shortcut. I hope nobody minds."
It's true for Christians, too. We have to run the race God intended us to run, not somebody else's race or the race of our own choosing. Yet it's easy to compare ourselves with others. When the race seems tough, it's easy to look at someone else and say, "If I had his race to run, no problem. If I had his paycheck, if I had a spouse, if I had his good health, I could run with perseverance."
We're tempted to quit because our course is harder than someone else's, but God says, "I want you to run this race. Don't think ...1