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, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3
The alarm on my Iphone rudely awakens me at 4:30 am in the morning. I get my gear together, I go through the mental check list. GPS watch, check. Heart monitor, check. Water bottles, check. Wallet in water bottle holder, check. Sweat towel, check. Running shoes double tied, check. Weather check, check. I’m ready for the run. I’m expectant for the sunrise to be awesome and the time with God even more awesome. It’s a time to be an inspiration and to be inspired. It’s time for the run.
There are some life lessons that a runner can impart to people that don’t run or do run. Just because I am a runner, does not make me something special or superior to anyone else. Running is something anyone who has good legs can do. We were created to run and hunt after our food. One of the most interesting lessons I learned as I began running was the amount of support I get from the athletic community. This surprise actually goes along with the first verse in the passage above. I had people witnessing what I was doing, this encouraged me to throw off the weight of the burden of the misconception that all athletes are snobs and only think of themselves. Speaking as an athlete I can say that we are not, and that we applaud those who overcome major circumstances to become athletic themselves. The encouragement I got was so amazing that I have to do that very thing myself. I discovered on my run that most people go counter clockwise on a track. What I do is I go clockwise so that I can encourage people along the way. Life in general is so much better when we get encouragement from someone. Sin cannot ensnare us because we are interested in pleasing God than pleasing ourselves. I went from being inspired to being an inspiration.
The GPS watch gives me direction and perseverance. It shows me how fast I am going and how far. It even tells me if I am running off the track planned out. It keeps me informed so that I can keep a speed and beat a time. As the second verse is talking about Jesus is our GPS watch. The Holy Spirit if we listen will guide us to where we need to go. He also will tell us if we are off the path set before us. The Holy Spirit as well is our heart monitor. Just as when I am running, I am checking my heart rate to make sure I am not overdoing the workout, so does the Holy Spirit helps us to know the condition of our heart in a spiritual sense.
To continue in perseverance I need water to stay hydrated during the heat of running. The water bottles are a very important part to running and keeping in the race. The
Word of God is our water bottle. We need the constant freshness it can bring us, the renewing of our minds. The water bottle holder and it’s pocket to keep our valuables close by, like car keys and wallet is just as important. You don’t just leave valuables laying around to be taken by a thief. Memorizing the Word of God can help when you don’t have the bible handy. If you have it on your heart, you can never lose it.
The sweat towel is just that, to clean sweat off us. Sweat is a sign of hard work and intensity. In our spiritual life, sweat is really growth in the Spirit. We are growing in Christ and we can see the sweat by our deeds in how we love people. Sweat cools our bodies and keeps us from overheating. Just as spiritual growth gives us wisdom and keeps us on the path to God’s destiny for our lives.
The running shoes keep our feet from harm. We can run on glass or over hard objects that can harm our feet. The running shoe is designed to help your feet get the most out of the run without injury. I know there are some barefoot runners out there that may debate me on this, but this is not the point at the moment. Double tying them keeps them from becoming dangerous trip mechanisms. The very thing you use to protect your feet can become your worst nightmare if you trip and fall. You can look at the running shoes as your greatest weakness becoming your greatest strength. God can use your weakness as your ministry to others. For me it was losing a ton of weight and helping others to be inspired to do the same. I still fight the battle of the bulge, but I find my greatest weakness is my greatest strength. My shoes will not come undone because I have them double tied.
The weather check is the last important thing the runner needs before a run. If it’s thunder storming there is no way I will do my run outside. I can’t outrun lightning, so I choose to be safe and run in an indoor track. God gives us protection by giving us the spiritual weather. His no by shutting a door, is a yes to a much brighter and better plan. Our plans may seem to be perfect in our own limited viewpoint, but God has the final word on what the weather really is. Discernment is so important in the Christian life to keep us safe and staying in the race marked out for us.
Running is my chosen discipline and I love it. What I love even more is the race that has been set before me. No not the physical race, but the spiritual one that God has me on. It’s scary at times, it can be overwhelming, but with my equipment along with me that He provides it makes it easier to continue on inspiring. Maybe that is the last point, allowing yourself to be equipped by the leaders in your church. That is their main objective, not just to preach to you, but also to show you how to be equipped. Without the proper equipment you will have a hard time running the race God has for you let alone staying on the right path. Finish strong.
© [David Howard], [David’s Body Temple], 2011-2015.