I live with a bunch of runners. (Note my careful choice of words.)
My husband coaches cross-country and track and can’t resist discipling our own 8-14 year-olds in the art of running in his free time. My eight year-old ran two 5ks in the past two days. They are all putting me to shame.
But though I don’t count myself among these dedicated athletes, I’m learning a couple valuable lessons from them.
First of all, serious runners don’t have an “off season.”
- When one season is done, they condition for the next.
- They eat wisely year-round.
- They go to bed early each night so they’re ready for those pre-dawn workouts.
After all, to stop training is to lose ground.
Secondly, running requires self-discipline: a throwing off of hindrances and entanglements.
Real runners resist the temptations that are accepted as “normal” to everyone else:
- soft drinks
- excessive sugar
- late nights
- injury-inducing activities
Runners have a goal in mind and persevere to that end.
It’s easy to forget we’re in a spiritual race, isn’t it? Yet it’s SO easy to be hindered, to become entangled.
When others indulge in whatever makes them happy, we look at our well-worn running shoes and our narrow path and wonder what would be so wrong with a break.
Why not enjoy an off season?
Wouldn’t it feel great to sleep in? Put our feet up? Eat without restrictions?
How easily we veer off course when our eyes are fixed on the fun everyone else is having.
But how different the perspective when we are instead,
…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.
There is lasting joy set before us too!
If we stay on course, persevere, cast aside the weights and entanglements, our sacrifices will pale in comparison to the reward.
I don’t want to be disqualified.
I don’t want to lose heart.
I want to say with Paul and so many of the witnesses who have gone before me:
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
2 Timothy 4:7
Jesus, please strengthen our “feeble arms and weak knees” (Heb. 12:12). Help us fix our eyes on YOU!
*How’s your race going today? Any words of encouragement to add to your fellow runners?