Athletic tracks are a quarter of a mile long. So when running the mile, a person has to go around the track four times. This has an odd effect; the third lap is the hardest lap to run well. It’s too far into the race for the excitement of the start to last. The runner has already done two laps, so they are tired and feeling bored. But it’s too far away from the end for the excitement of finishing to kick in. It is no longer than any other lap, but it is the hardest lap of the race.
There are lots of things in life that fit this same model. Lots of New Year’s resolutions die in February. Third quarter school grades are often the worst of the year. However, we need to change our thinking. The third lap is the time to knuckle down and do well, especially since we don’t feel like doing it.
We often decide to do good things, amazing things, that will help us and those around us. But between the start of the good thing and the accomplishment comes the endurance. You will have to work out for weeks before you can see clear results. Spiritual development and maturity take even longer.
In Galatians 6:9, Paul encouraged us to “not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” I would like to encourage you too. The good thing you started, even if you’ve fallen behind—DON’T GIVE UP. Keep going! The results will come and you can win. DON’T QUIT. You’re in the third lap. You can’t see the finish line, but you can finish. You might not see the progress, but it’s there. You might be unable to see the difference you’re making, but you are making a difference. KEEP IT UP! It’s just the third lap, and victory is just around the corner!