Run Well

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about (surrounded) with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset (ensnare) us, and let us run with patience (endurance) the race that is set before us.”

Hebrews 12:1

It is estimated that for every five pounds a runner loses, he cuts 30 seconds off his mile time. I have tried this theory and found it to be mostly true, and also know firsthand that when you add pounds, you add time. I would hardly call myself a runner, although I have logged some miles on my 45-year-old body. I enjoy running and find solace when I am out there. I formulate ideas and use the time to clear my head of the day’s struggles and concerns as I become more concerned about taking oxygen into my lungs. While I do not have a runner’s body, I have a runner’s heart, and I have pushed myself to limits I did not think possible.

I remember some races better than others, but those that were most memorable consisted of me being prepared. Preparation typically starts months before the race, and if you’re serious, you will watch what you eat and how you train. You will be careful to increase your miles and make sure you are putting in the work. You will count down the days to the race and as the race draws closer, you will train harder and longer.

My cousin and I had signed up for a race in Tucson, and it was a couple of weeks after the annual Pat Tillman Run. I figured I would still be in race shape from the Tillman Run, but after that race I let up and did very little training. I had not trained as I should have and the day of the race came sooner than I had anticipated. We got to Tucson and it was quite hot for May, and I had gotten up early that day for work and was already tired before the race began.

We took a photo prior to the race, and I look back on that photo now and see I was quite out of shape. My cousin was in better shape than I was, and my initial mistake was trying to keep up with him during the race. As you can imagine, I was not able to keep up and was gassed after mile 1. I walked and jogged my way through the race, and I frequently considered quitting. The added weight I had put on did not help, and I longed to see the finish line. I finally finished the 5K race, but I did not run my race well, and I vowed to myself that I would not allow that to happen again. I regretted every pound I added to my body, and I wished I would have trained better.

In my spiritual life, I have added “weight” to myself by allowing sin in my life and loving it more than my God. I starting walking in my spiritual race, and at times, stopped completely. I had my eyes on the lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh, and the pride of life, and I was not running the race God had called me to. I tried to move ahead like nothing was wrong in my life, but I look back at my “spiritual picture” and can see all the weights I had attached myself to. I praise God for His Word that encourages and admonishes me and keeps me running in the race.

How are you doing in your race? Have you stopped running to pursue the things of this world? Do you have your eyes on the people in the stands or are you focused on the Author and Finisher of our faith? We have one life to live, and we must be careful to not waste time in the race we were called to run. God knows when our race will end, and it is our job to run our race well until He calls us home. Will you have regrets when your race comes to an end, or will you hear, “Well done, my good and faithful servant”?

Stay in the Fight!

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