Several years ago, we stayed on Ft. Myers beach in south Florida for a family vacation. Since jogging has been a part of my daily routine here at home, early on I marked out how far I would run and found out later it was about 2.8 miles each run.
The first time seemed easy, since I didn’t know where I was going. The second time was hard because I knew where I was going and how far I had to go. As I ran, I began thinking about running.
Here are a few of the things I thought and later wrote down:
- Running is hard work.
- It’s hard to get started but easy to quit.
- It’s easy to rationalize not running. (Excuses are always abundant.)
- You’re always glad you ran, once you’ve run.
- The less you run the more it hurts, the more you run the less it hurts.
- Running makes you admire others who run.
- When you’re a runner it’s easy for you to tell if other runners are dogging it or devoted to it.
- Running is easier when you focus on the next few steps.
- When you run at the same pace, in a balanced rhythm, you can run longer.
- No one else can run for you.
I also thought about running and how God runs the world in which we live …
(1) The Bible tells us that the steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord (Psalm 37:23). That has phenomenal implications for all of us. Proverbs 4:11-12 says, “I guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble.”
(2) Hebrews 12:1 tells us God is the One Who marks out our course and we all run better without entanglements. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”
(3) God doesn’t show us where we’ll end up or how far we have to go because we might get disillusioned, disoriented or discouraged. He only shows us the next few steps.
I realized pretty quick, while running on the beach, that when I started getting tired I’d look up at the high rise condos and see how many more I had to run past before I would reach the end. Trust me, seeing how much farther I had to go sometimes became discouraging (and a little voice would say, “Who are you kidding? You can’t make it that far.”). In order to keep going and finish, I focused on the next few steps in front of me … and made it. One night I ran right past the place where we were staying. It’s always rewarding to finish a run like that. You’re done before you knew you were supposed to be.
Won’t the Rapture be like that? (Just a thought.)
(4) We’re not to run aimlessly, but purposefully. 1 Corinthians 9:24-26 says, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly.”
(5) If we run the way God wants us to, we will not grow weary. Isaiah 40:31, “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
“You and I are in a race. It’s the race God has marked out for us and we’d better be running in such a way as to get the prize.”
There are a lot more parallels between running and living the Christian life than I have time or space for in this blog. Let me just say, regardless of whether or not you take up jogging, you and I are in a race. It’s the race God has marked out for us and we’d better be running in such a way as to get the prize. It’ll take hard work, strict training, self-discipline, and lots of perseverance. But the blessings far outweigh the burdens.
Ecclesiastes 9:11 says, “The race is not to the swift …” The Christian life is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. So, we need to do more than just run well this week or this month or this year. We need to be running well the rest of our lives. Whadaya’ say?
I don’t run outside anymore, but I still get on my treadmill here at home. When I travel I try to get to the fitness center where I’m staying and run.
2 Samuel 18:22 says, “Come what may, I want to run …” Let’s run energetically and enthusiastically and every day … run in such a way as to get the prize!
Gotta’ run …
© 2016. Barry L. Cameron
Barry L. Cameron has been the Senior Pastor of Crossroads since 1992 when the church was averaging 188 in morning worship. Pastor Cameron and his wife, Janis, have three children and two grandsons. He’s the author of the bestseller: The ABCs of Financial Freedom, Contagious Generosity, and The Financial Freedom Workbook. The Cameron family has been completely debt free since November 2001.