Keep running the race that is set before you with endurance.
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How many times have we heard the word, ‘run’? It has become the catch phrase for movies…”Run Forrest, run!” and Forrest Gump ran straight across America. There are children’s stories where the Gingerbread challenged those wishing to eat him to run as fast as they could. Parents are for ever telling children to walk, not run. We make a run for it when it starts to rain, there is a coffee run and then general running. Sometimes we run around like a lost chicken, we run away, run to, run from, run into, run under, and run over.
In 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, Paul writes the following.(24)Do you not know that those who run in a race indeed all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way as to obtain it. (25) And everyone who competes controls himself in every way. Now they do it to receive a corruptible crown, but we for an incorruptible crown. (26) Therefore I run accordingly, not with uncertainty. Thus I fight not as one who beats the air. (27) But I treat my body severely and make it my slave, lest having proclaimed to others, I myself might be rejected.
I am not a great athlete, by no means, but I do enjoy running. I recall as a little girl accompanying my Uncle Harvey to races. My Uncle did not wake up one morning and decide to run a race, he would prepare for hours, he would run up a mountain in Cape Town called Ou Kaapse Weg (Old Cape Way). He would be up and out before those in the household had finished dreaming. I can never recall him moaning about having to train, or about pain. Instead, he always commented that his runs were good, and his attitude made me think that running was fun. His attitude rubbed off on me and I enjoy running.
I have learnt that running is not easy on the body and that a pair of good running shoes is an essential, along with comfy clothing that does not restrict your movement. The best bit of gear I bought was a heart rate monitor that alerts me to how hard my heart is working so that I can stay within a certain zone. This is key in not only becoming fit, but in taking care of yourself. We need to be close enough to YHWH to hear His Heart, and to know His Heart. We should have a heart that seeks Him and knows His loving-commitment for us. An accurate measure of your heart requires that you wear a monitor on your chest. The new smart watches are good, but a monitor near your heart gets an accurate reading. Likewise, to be close YHWH’s heart requires us to be in His presence, really close, to be filled with His very Spirit. I recall as a child curling up on my mother’s lap and putting my head on her chest to hear her heartbeat. This always made me feel so secure, so loved and so close. Take time to listen, feel and be sensitive to His heart beat. Check your own heart rate as you become fitter in running the race in step with the will of the Father.
As Christians we also need to make sure that we are dressed appropriately to run the race. In Ephesians 6 we read about putting on the amour of Elohim so that we can stand against wickedness and have power to run and receive an incorruptible crown. So when you think of running a spiritual race, gird your waist with Truth, put on a breast plate of righteousness, for shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News, so that you will be fully prepared. Take up the shield of belief so that you have power to quench all the burning arrows of the wicked one, take up the helmet of deliverance and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Words of Elohim. This is the ‘gear’ that is given to us as children of the Most High, we just need to put it on.
Paul tells us to run the race to win, telling us to control ourselves in every way and to run with a certainty. I started to think about the way I run, the things I do and then equated that to my spiritual race. When you set out for a run, you have a goal and destination, and need to prepare for the run. Just like runners have different levels of fitness and different goals, we are all at different stages in life, and varying stages of maturity in our walk with YHWH and need to prepare individually for our race. When you start running it is not easy and becoming fit requires a degree of perseverance and self discipline to push your body and mind to stay the course. It is hard when your legs are like jelly and you just want to turn around or stop. However, the elation of pushing on, even if it means you walk a while and achieving a goal is worth the effort.
Runners will tell you that when racing their diet is just as important as the training. It is about stocking up with healthy foods, drinking lots of water and having snacks with you that will sustain your energy levels and support you on the run. Jesus told us that we can’t live on bread alone, we need to eat from the Living Word, drink from the Streams of Life. We can’t run the race without sustaining our spirit with His Word, without being Spirit filled.
Make my steps fall in line with Your way and will. May my heart beat in Your zone, to Your beat. As I run this race may I fill my spirit with Your Truth, drink from steams of Living Water and daily be fed by Your Word. May I run the race You have set before me and receive my incorruptible crown. Amen