While doing my three miles today, I couldn’t help but think of all the parallels this physical “race” has to the Christian life. As I am “running”(jogging/walking) through the mountains and valleys (inclines, gravel driveway, old body) I see and feel the obstacles in my path (loose rocks, Elsa-my way too active Labrador retriever, asthma, out of shape muscles, extra pounds). Just as I want to improve my mile and ultimately my physical health, I want to grow in my Christian walk. I want to grow more spiritually healthy, showing not only endurance and perseverance, but also love, patience, forgiveness, faithfulness and thankfulness even in the tough seasons. Even as I push myself to reach my goals of a certain mile time, a certain healthy weight and diet, I know I have tools that help me in this healthy lifestyle journey: tennis shoes, cute leggings (Don’t worry, I never leave the driveway while wearing them 😱), the Fitbit app, my new Aftershocks to listen to my favorite playlists and last but not least my inhaler-because I need to breath! #truestory In the same way, I have help in this Christian life: my Bible, my husband and family, my church family, Bible studies, Podcasts and the Holy Spirit daily breathing life in me.
I’m so thankful for the people God has placed along the way to help me run this healthy race well…those people who run no matter what, kids, especially the girls-who share tips, recipes, apps and lots of encouragement and my husband-who encourages and supports me no matter what I decide we will eat.
And in the same way, in this Christian life there have been and are teachers and pastors-who have taught the truth, parents-who have prayed, siblings-who have shown love and support, friends-who have walked along side and sweet mentors-who have encouraged by word and example how to live life well during the good times and during the hard times. I am thankful for my children who are always my biggest cheerleaders and share wisdom even though they are younger. And again, I’m so blessed to have a husband who loves me, spoils me, prays for me and leads me, but most of all loves the Lord more than he loves me. If I remember all these things and use the tools God has given me, I can run this race well.
There will be days that I do not want to exercise and days I give in to temptations to eat what I know will cause consequences (like bloating or rashes on my legs and of course the dreaded weight gain). And it’s probably not a coincidence that many times these temptations come when my focus is not where it should be, just like most temptations to rebel against God’s best for our lives. Satan is the master of lies, whether he’s whispering how I deserve to eat whatever I want, or that I shouldn’t work so hard (physically, emotionally and spiritually) because I will not succeed. There are times when I get hurt and I have a setback. Sometimes the healing takes a long time and I can get discouraged. There are days I will remind myself of all my failures and I tell myself I am incapable; I am not enough. Then Jesus lovingly reminds me He is sufficient. I have a choice of what voice I will listen to today. Because I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, I do not have to depend on my own “self will”. And I can remember that His promises are true and His plans are good and perfect-not necessarily easy. Above all, I want to run well and finish well-“…to the praise of glory of His grace…” (Ephesians 6:1)
I hope as you are living this life that you know the Giver of life, the Alpha and Omega, the One who goes before you. What challenges are you facing today? I challenge you to read the verses below and spend some time in God’s word today.
“The LORD, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you or forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.”
“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.”
1 CORINTHIANS 9:24-27
“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
“You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion did not come from Him who calls you.
For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.”
“Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain.”
KP Oct 2018