February 9, 2015
Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. 1 Corinthians 9:24
I am a runner. I have been a runner since 2009. I never really saw the point of running before that. I would run a bit, and call it quits. I had no real desire to run a half marathon. I had no idea what a 5K or 10K meant. All I knew was I wanted to be in good shape and I wanted to be healthy, so I'd run at least a mile. If I went for a mile and a half or two miles, I was pushing myself.
Since becoming a runner, I've learned that it requires discipline. It is so easy to quit after going a few steps. You may be all excited at first. Before the start, you may see others running and think to yourself, "I need to do that!" Or, "They make it look so easy." You may put on a pair of sneakers. If you are a beginner runner these shoes may or may not be true running shoes. For me, I put on non running shoes. I was fooled by great advertising.
So let's say you do buy some great running shoes, and you find and purchase awe inspiring running attire. The level of excitement is high. You muster up the energy to put your run clothes and shoes on and you either go to the gym or go to the trail. Now this situation has gotten real. Then you start running. After a few steps, it might feel good. Even after a few minutes it's great. Then it happens. you feel all kinds of uncomfortable pains in your feet, your legs, your side. You're having a hard time catching your breath. You get a terrible stitch in your side, and you just want all the pain and discomfort to go away.
Following Jesus is much like running. This run is not a sprint, but a marathon. Although there are ultra-marathons nowadays, I'd say the most challenging runs for the average person is the marathon. If you've ever run a sprint, you know that you don't really have to think about much while running. You just go. In a marathon, you have more than enough time to think. You have all kinds of thoughts and emotions come up. These moments are not always comfortable, nor are they without pain.
The only thing for sure is that if you keep going, you will finish the race and be able to say, "I did it!" No matter how life gets when you are following Jesus, if you decide to stay the course, when you stand face to face with Him, He can say to you, Well done good and faithful servant.
1 Corinthians 9:24 states that when people run a race, only one person gets the prize. However, all of the runners are to run in such a way that they are going for the prize. Runners do this through training, and focusing on the race route. 1 Corinthians 9:26 says that the writer does not run like someone running aimlessly, there is intention in every step this runner takes. They are focused on the goal and running to finish.
While on the treadmill earlier today, I shifted my focus from in front of me to the side to glance at my phone. I needed to adjust the music I was listening to. Well you probably can guess what happened. I lost my focus, and lost my balance. My feet shifted to my new focus, and as a result I tripped and almost fell of the treadmill.
While running outdoors, I've tripped and lost my footing when not paying attention to what I am doing. In our walk with Jesus, the same thing can occur. We must be intentional in our journey. We must stay focused on Him because when we shift our focus, it is very likely our feet will follow or focus and we will fall. Look at Peter. He saw Jesus walking on water and wanted to join Him. Jesus took Peter's hand, thus Peter began walking on water too. (Matthew 14:28-29). But as soon as Peter took his eyes off Jesus to focus on something else, he began to sink (Matthew 14:30).
Jesus wants us to run the race, He wants us to finish strong. And when we complete our race, the prize is Jesus. We get Him for an eternity. But we must keep our eyes fixed on Him. We must let go of the pain and discomfort and focus on finishing well.