It’s amazing how many spiritual connections there are with the Christian life and running. The Bible describes the Christian life in terms of a race in such passages as Isaiah 40:31; 2 Corinthians 9:24; Galatians 5:7; Philippians 3:14; 2 Timothy 4:7; and Hebrews 12:1.
The spiritual lessons that came to mind as I ran last Saturday are too numerous to comment on here since I had a lot of time to think out there on the track – 33.29 minutes to be exact! I will tell you that three phrases ran through my mind that day. I even spoke them out loud as I ran. Run the race. Keep the pace. See the face.
RUN THE RACE! I was determined to run and keep on running. I didn’t start to quit. I started to finish. Many people start the Christian life but get side-tracked or discouraged along the way. Like the Galatians, they run well for a while only to drop out of the race (Galatians 5:7). As a believer, run in such a way that you can finish (2 Timothy 4:7) and obtain the prize (2 Corinthians 9:24).
KEEP THE PACE! For the first mile I tried to keep pace with those around me. I tried to run their race. It quickly became obvious that wasn’t going to work. If I continued to run at the same pace of others I might not finish my race. So I found my own pace and kept it to the end. Don’t try to be something or someone you’re not. Don’t fall into the trap of comparing yourself with others. Learn to be the person God created you to be and run at the pace designed for you.
SEE THE FACE! This is possibly the most important of the three phrases. You have to keep your eyes on the prize. Every time I could catch a glimpse of the finish line I locked in on it like radar. I reminded myself, “I’m not running from something, I’m running to something!” Running from will carry you only so far. The real motivation is having a worthy goal to run toward. In the Christian life the goal is Jesus, “Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:1-2).
One final thought. I cannot tell you how much the encouragement of others helped Tori and I run and finish our first 5K. We do not run the Christian race alone. To attempt to do so is a tragic mistake. We need the strength and encouragement that comes from the family of God. So stay connected to the family. Be encouraged yourself, and become an encourager of others.
Pastor Todd Weston