“...let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus...” Heb. 12:1
I'm not a big fan of running. There are quite a few reasons for it, but none are worth listing since they are just poor excuses. However, while I recently thought about running again, I recalled multiple verses in Scripture that refer to a Christian life as a race. Of course I've read them before, but this time one particular aspect of this idea stood out above others. It was something I had never really focused on before; If I were to stand still in a race, or even run slowly, I might as well be running backwards!
I started recalling all of the times in the past few months where it seems I paused during my race or my pace has been sub-par. I'm specifically referring to the times I've been spending in Scripture as well as in prayer. During a race the time keeps ticking. It doesn't just stop because I want to take a break. I've wasted a lot of time. Time I could be advancing. Time that could have been spent growing in God, getting to know Him, and serving Him. I might as well have been running backwards!
It all started with just a simple excuse. Believe me I seem to be a master at finding an excuse. With how busy life can get there is always one to find. Before long, the excuses can become so habitual they can cause a complete stop to the race rather than just slow the run. I would skip my devotional time in the evening telling my self “I'm too tired, ill do it later”. Well, it was easy to say the same thing when the “later” came. It’s the same with prayer. It's easy to make it a habit to tell an individual that you'll pray for them rather than just doing it then and there, and then simply forgetting later on.
Running a race is something that takes all of our attention. It is an active and continuous activity. It takes effort, endurance, dedication, patience, and much more. We have to make time. We have to focus on running, on being about our Father's business. When I struggled, instead of making excuses I should have been praying, asking for God's help a lot more than I did. I should have been looking for accountability. I thank God for my wife every day. She usually notices right when I take a pause or slow down in my race.
We need to remember that we are not running the race alone. There are others running right along side of us. People who share our struggles. People who will lift us up when we fall or slow down. We also need to remember to look unto Jesus as we run, and to the prize that awaits us at the finish line. I love Paul's comparison of our Christian life to a race. It is a simple illustration anyone can relate to. It is one that speaks volumes and helps us in our everyday walk. Let's run!