Three Things Thursday [Vol.7]

Three ways running relates to life in Christ:

1. You can always go further than you think.
This is the biggest hurdle that kept (keeps) me from running – I get tired after about 20 seconds and want to go back home. BUT if I cut myself the slack to start slow and take breaks when I need to, eventually my heart and lungs catch up, and it’s not so bad! Then it becomes a case of pushing my limits, trying to make it running to the next driveway or bus stop before my next breather because…

2. The hard parts can be the best parts.
Not to push a cliche, because sometimes the hard parts plain suck – you’re wheezing and dizzy and red in the face and possibly crying a little bit. Sucky.

But there is something magical about the best part of a hard run, when your legs are burning and your heart is pounding, and it feels like your lungs could breathe in whole mountains, they are filling up down to your hip bones, and the running is hard, but all you have to do is keep going; you are unstoppable. Everything you need is working already, and you are doing what to cold muscles and calm heart seems impossible. It is thrilling and satisfying and great.

3. There is only one prize. Paul compares life in Christ to a race and exhorts his readers to “Run in such a way to get the prize.” Unfortunately, I think this verse is often read as if there is only one winner.* Christianity becomes a competition, and if you’re not the best you’re a loser. But Paul isn’t saying we should size each other up, throw elbows and try to beat each other out whatever it takes – he is telling his readers to keep their focus. This life is all we get, and if we are not running our best (which won’t look the same every day, but the best that we have at each moment), we are wasting time. We must not be distracted by the races other people are running, becoming envious or going off track to try and copy them. In the parable of the talents, the first two servants receive the same prize from their master although they accomplished different things. The prize is to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” Those are the words I hope to hear on judgment day, not, “Nice work, Davis, your Christmas play totally out-classed those Pentecostals. In fact, I’m not even gonna let them in!”

Yes, God still calls me by my maiden name.

Bonus thoughts on running (by the way, I had a great run yesterday):

  • Running is not like life in Christ because we don’t know the length or terrain of our life’s course. We have to follow Jesus step by step and season by season, and recognize that we may have 50 years or two weeks left to live. The best way to pace ourselves is to trust and follow him, since he knows the course inside and out.
  • His banner over us is Love. Love is why and how we run this life with Jesus. It is how we know we’re on the right track and what we look forward to at the finish line. (God loves you and I love you and that’s the way it should be… That song is about banqueting not running, I know, but don’t you think we’ll all be down for a huge banquet when the life-race is over? I do.)

*Turns out 1 Corinthians 9:24 says only one winner. Awkward. I guess that’s where the analogy breaks down.

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Back to Exercise | Moving With God 25-03-2013, 06:29

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