Monday, April 6, 2009

Running Your Race

This past week I participated in a 5k race in Columbia, TN. If you have never been to a race of this sort you are going to have to try attend one some time. Even if you do not choose to run, there are many things you can learn just by observing those who do. Here are some things I learned this week:

1. You need to run your own race.
Everybody has a different stride. The end goal is the same but how and when we cross the finish line is going to vary. It was neat to see 7 and 8 year-old children run. Their legs are shorter but they don't wear out as quickly. It was great to see people in their 70's running. They, along with the disabled who ran inspired me the most. Because we are all different, there is something about our individual performance that enhances the race itself. We can teach each other. We don't have to worry about measuring up to each other. We simply need to do our personal best.
Galatians 6:4,5 - "But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For each one shall bear his own load."

2. You need to stay on the track.
After training for a while to run a race it would be a real bummer to be disqualified. How many times have you seen Olympic competitors ruin four years in four seconds by not obeying the rules? Every runner at sometime has imagined that they may miss a sign or go the wrong way or get out of bounds. A well organized race is replete with well marked boundaries. You must stay on course. As Christians our path is clearly marked by the pages of God's holy word. Jesus said that the way to life is narrow and difficult, and only a few enter thereby. All of the effort we exert to get to heaven will be negated by our unwillingness to stay on course.
1 Corinthians 9:26-27 - "Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified."

3. You must push your hardest to finish.
If you want to be inspired go to the finish line and watch people finish their race. You will see determination, effort, courage, endurance, and heart. Every distance race has moments of question. Can I even finish? Am I going to collapse? Should I just give up and forget it? Then, just around the last turn and over the rise you can see it. It is the finish line. When you see the finish line, you can will yourself to do more than you ever imagined. With great joy I have been blessed to see some of the greatest people I have ever known finish their race. When they come to the point when their goal is in sight, the person they become is the person God created them to be.
Philippians 3:13-14 - "Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."

If we can do these three things then we can say what Paul once said...
1. Run your own race - "I have fought the good fight."
2. Stay on the track - "I have finished my course."
3. Push to finish - "I have kept the faith."

" ...let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith..." ~ Hebrews 12:1-2

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