“LORD, who may dwell in your sacred tent? Who may live on your holy mountain? The one whose walk is blameless, who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from their heart; whose tongue utters no slander, who does no wrong to a neighbor, and casts no slur on others; who despises a vile person but honors those who fear the LORD; who keeps an oath even when it hurts, and does not change their mind; who lends money to the poor without interest; who does not accept a bribe against the innocent. Whoever does these things will never be shaken.”~Psalm 15
“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
Back in 2009 I was blessed enough to run a half marathon, which is 13.1 miles. A marathon is double that 26.2 miles. The first marathon that was run, was run by a guy named Pheidippides. He ran to tell the good news of victory over the Persians in the battle of Marathon. He ran so hard for so long that after delivering the news he died. He unfortunately did not have our modern way of thinking, all he was concerned with was delivering the good news, there was no pacing, there was no nutrition gels to help him, he more than likely was dehydrated. The path God has before us should be run like a marathon, it is a race that will last you your whole life. Three aspects will determine the outcome of your life marathon; strength, endurance, and core stability.
Strength comes from a marathon runner’s heart. The truth of this becomes evident when we look at the actual size of a runner’s heart, it is enlarged in a healthy way. Psalm 15 shows us righteous behavior that will result in a big heart. These are goals to shoot for, just as a certain pace is aimed for by the runner. That pace keeps the strength going on and on. When we find God’s path for our lives, that will give us strength to continue on. Which brings me to endurance.
Endurance is what strength gives us, the way to continue through the strife. There are a couple of things that can zap the strength out of the endurance of the runner. The first is what is called hitting the wall. The second is falling and getting injured. In other words, fear and failure. There is a point in the race where you will feel completely alone, where you feel nothing anyone says to you will get you through this pain and test of your running ability. This is where you start to question why am I putting myself through this torment. This is hitting the wall, where fear starts to take over. I bought what I felt was a great deal in a used car. I prayed this was the right course of action, I needed a vehicle. God delivered this awesome car to me, right in the price range. After driving around in this car for business and work, and even having my wife take it on a little trip, I find out the tires on it were so bad they were starting to fall apart. I could not see this from the outside of the car, the damage was on the inside part of the tire. I was questioning why did you bring me to this ruin God? Fear and failure were taking over. I heard a great story by Dr. Dobson of Focus on the Family. He said years ago he took his son Ryan in to get his ear infection taken care of by a cranky pediatrician. He literally had to hold his poor son down as the doctor went in and took care of the issue. Ryan screamed in pain and as Dr. Dobson was holding his poor son down he could see Ryan’s eyes looking back at him from a mirror in the room. They had pain and betrayal in them. Just as Dr. Dobson saw the pain and betrayal in his son’s eyes God sees and feels the pain we are enduring. He is the racer or friend that sees us struggling that encourages us to “keep moving, keep running.” He is the stranger that sees us fall and runs in to help us cross the finish line. Endurance helps us to stay upright and gives us core stability.
There are some 35 muscles that make up the core in your body. They surround the center of your torso. They include your back as well as your stomach area. Even though we are using our legs to run, the core of the body keeps us upright and straight. It can even help us run easier. When we train for the marathon we have to train these muscles so we can endure through the long hours of running. Getting back to our Psalm which really is describing the core stability of our spiritual life, we see what a healthy balanced core we will have. At the end of the Psalm David says we will never be shaken. This spiritual core is trained by spending time with God; reading His word and praying. Spiritual core stability is the way to a balanced life that can affect our body, mind, and spirit. A well balanced personal trinity will help us to achieve a core stability that will help us never to be shaken.
The three aspects to the marathon of our spiritual life are strength of heart, endurance to keep on keeping on, and spiritual core stability, to keep us upright even through the direst of circumstances.
© [David Howard], [David’s Body Temple] 2017