From hunting to finding food to avoiding danger, running has been a part of human existence and has evolved through time. Running was officially born as a sport in 776 B.C., in Olympia, Greece. It was the second oldest sport and the first and only event in the ancient Olympic games. Today, we run for better health, to lose weight, to relieve stress, for fun or to compete for races. And whether we like it or not we are always running, literally or figuratively. We are running the race of life everyday. We are running our own races which we are trying to win.
Sometimes it can be exhausting and we feel like giving up and getting out of the race but the good news is we have a God who provides strength for the race ahead.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” – Philippians 4:13
“…but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” – Isaiah 40:31
Beginners are advised to run slow not fast, ” walk when you need to, run when you can”, to warm-up, to put on the right shoes, to record runs, what food to eat before and after running and the correct clothing to wear. And speaking of clothing, I can’t help but think of the dedication of Olympic athletes. They are almost literally wearing their underwear in front of millions of people so that they won’t be slowed down. They get rid of every unnecessary object that can hinder them. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…” – Hebrews 12:1
What sin is hindering you in winning this race of faith? What is entangling you and making it impossible for you to run the race well? Are they things that are not necessarily sinful but are still distracting? We have to have focus and determination if we want to win the race. We have to fix our eyes on Jesus and turn our eyes away from whatever is distracting us. We have to make conscious choices. “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” – James 1:12. We can’t finish the race and secure the prize God has for us until we become free of whatever it is that hinders us.
When you run, you don’t think about what’s behind you. The only thing that matters is what’s in front of you. Normally, it’s the finish line. In running the race of life we should be looking forward and forgetting the past. Remember Lot’s wife? Don’t look back. Run on. Whether it is something that happened as long ago as your childhood or as recently as the other day, let not the past keep you from moving into all God has for you. “…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.” – Philippians 3:13,14
Never had one bad thing happen to you in your life? Or have you been completely delivered from every hurtful memory you ever had? You still need to pray. We still need to pray because even the delightful things of our past can keep us from allowing God to work in us and through our lives. He does not want us to rest on our past success. God always wants to take us to a new place in our lives and we will keep Him from doing that if we will remain stuck in our past. He wants us to always be in the center of His will which is the safest and the best place to be.
“Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” – Isaiah 43:18,19
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” – 1 Corinthians 9:24-27