Enjoying the Journey
About five months ago I did something I have never done – I started running. I should have started years ago. While physically it has helped me, I am amazed at how much clarity and quiet it provides to think and pray.
But this is not a blog about running. It is about life. Many times in the last few months I have realized the similarities between running and the daily disciplines of life.
The Apostle Paul spoke frequently of this parallel…
“…that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24).
“Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain…I therefore so run, not as uncertainly” (1 Cor. 9:24, 26a)
“Ye did run well; who did hinder you that you should not obey the truth?” (Gal. 5:7)
“I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:14).
And at the end of his race these parting words: “I have finished my course” (2 Tim. 4:7).
Paul was a runner. I am a runner. And so are you.
We may be terribly out of shape or off course! But every one of us has a race to run. And we are the only ones who can run it.
One day as I ran my regular course I saw a woman running off in the distance. Like most ignorant men I made it my goal to pass this fellow runner. I picked up the pace, determined that no runner would be out in front of me.
It was a terrible mistake! By the time I caught up with my competitor it was clear that she was running a much faster pace than I. Still, I pushed on. Out of breath, with barely enough energy to finish my run, I succeeded. I had won!
Or had I? Nearly 2 miles from home, it made for a long run back.
I learned a valuable lesson: run my race. Not hers. Not someone else’s. Mine.
The writer of Hebrews 12:1 said it best, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.”
- Each of us has a race set before us. We do not choose it for ourselves; it is chosen for us by the One who knows the end from the beginning. This is why the very next verse declares, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2). The direction is His to set. We merely follow His course.
- The race is before us. You cannot make forward progress always looking behind you. Trying to stay ahead of someone else or bothered by some thing long ago passed is unhelpful. Move on. Get past your past. Run your race.
- Finally, we must understand that the race is set before us – it is personal. Every man has his own race to run. The race is run for Christ – not for someone else.
There is far too much comparison Christianity today. We are warned in Scripture that those who compare themselves by themselves are not wise (2 Cor. 10:12). Our race is not run because we have kept up or surpassed another runner along the way.
The only competition we have in this race is against our own opportunity and our own ability. The only strength we have in this race is the divine enabling that comes through grace, and that grace is only given as we run our race.
Solomon learned on his run that “the race is not to the swift” (Eccl. 9:11). Isaiah learned on his run that only the Lord can give strength so that we may “run and not be weary” (Isa. 40:31).
There is much to learn from a good run. Get out and start today! Run YOUR race, the race “set before you.”