Now, I am not a runner. But there are those days I feel like running. I feel like just taking off and running as far as I can. It's those hills that really get me though. It seems like you sweat more. You run harder. Your heart beats faster. You begin to run low on energy. It is in those very moments I feel like giving up, throwing up that white flag in surrender.
Ever just feel like going out and buying yourself a new pair of running shoes? Something that will help in that uphill battle? Maybe I am just running the wrong way. I always think it is easier to run away from my trials. It seems the farther away from them I am it would be better, but can we really run that far? I don't think we can. Even if we did run as far as we could, those trials just seem to pick up speed and meet us wherever we end up. Am I right?
Instead of running away from my trials I need to be running to the God who can give me the endurance I need to run the race.
Romans 5:3-5 "We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love."
See, I need to run into those problems with a new attitude. I don't need to look at the hill with fear, but see it as a challenge before me. I need to look at that uphill battle as already won, and face it with a determination filled with hope. A hope that Christ gives us daily. He not only will face that challenge with us, but He will run along side us, keeping each step with ours, cheering us on.
I need to put on my shoes with a new confidence. I need to lace them up with a new strength. I need to begin my run toward those trials knowing the Lord is there at the finish line waiting for me!
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 "Don't you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I an not shadowboxing. I discipline m body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified."
I didn't quite understand what shadowboxing was when I first read this scripture, but the Lord has made it clear today. I don't just need to go through the motions. I need to face the day with a determination and move about with meaning and purpose. Just like a boxer training for a fight. He may shadowbox alone with that punching bag, but God wants me to do more than merely going through the motions and saying what I must do. He wants me to do it and do it with a passion. He wants me to get out of that practice ring and go out with my gloves on. I don't even have to train alone. He will train me! He will teach me endurance through each trial to face the next. He will give me strength not to just overcome today, but renew my hope in tomorrow!
Hebrews 12:1-2 "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God's throne."
I can run today with a new energy. A new path set before me. A path where Jesus is leading the way. He will not only lead me through the valleys, but up those hills to the mountain top and back down again. Each race has meaning. Each racer has purpose. Are you ready to lace up with me today? With Jesus we can run in the sunshine on our face or with the rain upon our back. As long as we stay focused on Him and not how hard the run, we will finish with a crown of glory, only to hand to him, the One who crossed the ribbon long before us.