Running the Race

January 20, 2012

We all have identities that we used to have. Some of them were good and some maybe were not so good. Perhaps some of these we still have and others we have gotten rid of a long time ago.

For me, in high school I was a cross-country runner. I ran track too but it just was not the same. I loved cross-country (and still do)! It amazed me at what I was capable of doing.

It also amazed me at what other people were capable of doing. My Senior year there was one guy who came in 45 seconds ahead of me every race. I’d run a 17:30 5K, he would run 16:45. It was frustrating, but also inspiring.

In order to run those kinds of time (or even better) a person needs to train. Someone cannot simply decide one day that they are going to go out and run a record-breaking time. There is a lot of work that goes into running a good race.

In Scripture, our lives are compared to running a race. I thought it would be interesting to take different distance running workouts and see how we can compare them to the lives we should be living according to Scripture.

The long run. One of the workouts a runner can do to prepare for a race is go out for a long run. This may be different distances depending on the race you will be running. While training for a marathon a 6 mile run is not “long.” These workouts help build endurance for the race.

In the same way we encounter times in our lives where we can build endurance. It may be through the drudge of everyday life, or maybe an experience that takes up a lot of time for a while. It is through continuous devotion to Christ, even during these times that we can build endurance for a major tragedy or trying event. Do not discredit the events meant to build endurance for the race.

The hill workout. A runner may intentionally run hills (I know that does not make sense to most people). They do this to help build strength. They run strong up the hills and then coast back down. You may think the going back down is easy and you would be right, at first. As a runner gets into this workout, even the downhill part gets difficult.

Our faith in Jesus is something that grows. It gives us strength to face day after day. Whether times in our lives are easy or difficult, faith in Jesus makes in possible. We know that He is in control. Our faith grows as our relationship with Him grows. We read our Bible and hide His words in our hearts. When we do this we have the strength to overcome temptation.Talking with God through prayer also builds our trust in Him.

Have a running buddy. This has been one of the reasons it has been difficult for me to get back into running shape. I try to do it on my own. I get into a long run and fatigue sets in. I just want to slow down and there is nobody there to challenge me to keep going. There is nobody there for me to challenge.

I know this one isn’t a workout but it is so important. We were not meant to go through life alone. We have the Church which was designed by God. As a body we help each other to be better. We laugh and cry with each other. Bible studies are not just places to get together and talk about the game. We challenge each other to have a deeper faith. There is growth that just cannot happen if we try to live the Christian walk all on our own.

Rest. If a runner tries doing a hard workout every day he will just burn himself out. No matter how great of shape he is in, there needs to be scheduled rest days in his workouts. Our bodies are not meant to go, go go! God designed them to rest, and a runner is wise when he allows himself to do this on a regular basis.

The same is true for all of us. Days of rest are needed. God gave us the example by resting on the seventh day and then commanding the Israelites to keep the Sabbath. In a world that tells us to go, go, go, we need to stop and slow down on a regular basis. If we don’t we will burn out and nobody will get our best. Our relationship and jobs will suffer. Make sure you are taking time to rest once a week.

I know that there are more workouts to explore. We could have talked about a tempo run, fartleks, mile repeats, or other workouts. I think these do a fairly good job of describing some important things for us to remember.

Now go, and “run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith”.

What else have you heard the faith described as? How has that helped your walk with God?


2 Responses to “Running the Race”

  1. I like the way your applied running principles into our ‘spiritual race’. Great work!

    Brandon, I want you to know that your blog posts are wonderful. Keep going!

    Answering your question, Hebrews 12:1 urges us to run THE race that God has set before us. Though all who follow Christ ‘run’ through the same ‘narrow path’, each one has to fulfill specific functions. In that sense, I got to run my race and you got to run yours! That’s an interesting thought.

    • Thank you very much for the encouragement! It means a lot. I have always liked how Scripture uses the image of running a race. We are all working toward a goal and as you said we each have our own races (or functions) to run.

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