“I WILL RUN the course of Your commandments, For You shall enlarge my heart.” Psalms 119:32 NKJVThe family and I went fur a run on the Florida coast this morning. We are in Daytona Beach for this portion of our road trip. It’s fun to run on the sand, it’s soft and gives you a little bit of a bounce. There were a few people out running and walking on the beach. There’s a few things I notice about those who exercise on a regular basis and there are many Biblical examples that you can draw on from running, “for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” 1 Tim 4:8
Here are three things I have learned from running that I apply to my spiritual walk:People who run regularly (or exercise on a regular basis) are disciplined. It takes discipline to get up early and run before the sun comes out. It takes discipline to run in the rain. It takes discipline to run when you’re tired and in pain. The Christian walk is one of discipline. It takes discipline to read your Bible every day, fast, pray, attend weekly services, love, serve, give generously and more. These things do not come easy to the flesh- like the disciplined runner, the Christian has to fight against the flesh and die daily to its lusts and dictates.
Godliness comes through continual and disciplined training. “Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but [only] one receives the prize? So run [your race] that you may lay hold [of the prize] and make it yours. Now every athlete who goes into training conducts himself temperately and restricts himself in all things. They do it to win a wreath that will soon wither, but we [do it to receive a crown of eternal blessedness] that cannot wither. Therefore I do not run uncertainly (without definite aim). I do not box like one beating the air and striking without an adversary. But [like a boxer] I buffet my body [handle it roughly, discipline it by hardships] and subdue it, for fear that after proclaiming to others the Gospel and things pertaining to it, I myself should become unfit [not stand the test, be unapproved and rejected as a counterfeit].” 1 Cor 9:24-27 AMPC
People who run are happier. As Elle says in “Legally Blonde”, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people don’t kill people”. As I was running this morning, other runners were giving us smiles, high fives and many “hellos”. It may not be “fun” while you are in the midst of of it, but afterward there’s a euphoric feeling. This phenomenon is known as the “runner’s high”. Running makes you happy. The Bible proclaims that those who fear the Lord are happy. Why are we happy? Because we are blessed. We are happy to serve and obey the Lord who died for us, no matter what we have to go through or how difficult the journey. We know the end result and count all difficulty as joy.
The man who fears the Lord need not fear any other thing. Such freedom! Freed men are happy! No more fear and no more bondage. Praise God!“PRAISE THE Lord! (Hallelujah!) Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man who fears (reveres and worships) the Lord, who delights greatly in His commandments.” Psalm 112:1 AMPC“For to the person who pleases Him God gives wisdom and knowledge and joy; but to the sinner He gives the work of gathering and heaping up, that he may give to one who pleases God. This also is vanity and a striving after the wind and a feeding on it.” Ecclesiastes 2:26 AMPC
People who run don’t care how slow you run, just that you are out running. I find this time and time again- a runner will encourage another runner just because they are out there getting it done. There’s no competition, there’s no ego, just an encouraging attitude towards others running. It really is a small but close community. Runners love to run and they love other runners. It’s really cool to get the head nod from another runner, as if to say, “I see you running and I’m sharing in your suffering”. They know what you are going through and they care and love that you are out there running.
A converted Christian recognizes others who have been born again. There is a witness of the Spirit. Those who have God’s Spirit recognize another with the same Spirit. There’s no competition and no one should have an ego. It doesn’t matter what gifts you possess, there’s only One gift giver and He gives out gifts as He sees fit. We are all in the same race with the same destination, we just arrive at different times. As long as they are trying, we should encourage others in their Christian race. If you can’t even get out there but are too lazy and undisciplined, I’m washing my hands. I’
m done wasting my oil on rebellious, lukewarm, and apostate Christians who are always condemning the righteous ones out running our race. (2 Tim 3:1-5) I’m not wasting any more precious oil on the complainers and grumblers, the lazy and belligerent, those who continue to live a life of sin and deny the power of the cross to not only save, but to transform. I don’t care how slow you go, just that you are moving in the same direction we are- upward and towards the cross. We will know you by your fruit. “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work.
Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good.
Abstain from every form of evil. Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thes 5:11-23 ESV“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV#runyourrace
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