The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. (Rom. 16:20)

I USED TO BE A RUNNER. I was pretty good, beating girls several years older than me in some of the more grueling cross-country races our school competed in. But then I went to high school and discovered I was a small fish in a big pond. And I gave up. I wasn’t winning races anymore, and I didn’t see the point in pushing my body to such extremes. Even though I was a distance runner, I clearly had no concept of perseverance.

We can do the same thing in our walk with God. When we first discover the Lord, we’re excited. We feel like we can take on the world. And then trouble comes our way. Things don’t work out the way we expect. God doesn’t always make sense to us. People say and do things that make us wonder about our faith. In short, walking in step with the Spirit is hard, and we don’t see the point in pushing ourselves to do the work.

Paul warned the new Christians in Rome about this very issue. He knew it would be difficult for them to persevere, and he encouraged them to stand firm, knowing the day would come when their hard work would pay off.

And he would say the same thing to you: “Be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.”

Name the obstacle that is preventing you from growing in your faith.

Heather Gemmen Wilson is the author of the Global Warning Series (WPH), a fiction series for preteens.