My friends and I have frequent discussions about how God’s sovereign purposes in our daily lives interact with our individual callings that must be actively lived out, trusting or trying, resting or response. Like examining a canvas in a museum, we view the question from different perspectives in varying lighting.
One week our youth pastor shared a story that helped me answer the question. In college, Travis was competing in a track meet in an event which he had never run, the 200 meter hurdles. He waited for the start gun so he could begin. The first time it went off there were false starts. The second time it went off, there were more false starts. Finally Travis was left at the starting line alone. He had won the race (by default). But he couldn’t just walk off the field, he was required to run the race and jump the hurdles. It did not matter how quickly he ran, how well he jumped, or even if he fell. He just had to cross the finish line.
So we too have won the race because Jesus gives us His victory (salvation); however, we can’t just sit down on the sidelines and wait. We have to complete the course (sanctification). It is not about finesse or speed but perseverance until the end. Philippians 1:6 He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.