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

Friday, January 25, 2013

Run in such a way as to get the prize

The Run

It's a wonderfully welcome Friday! And a beautiful day for a run!

Now, most people might not agree with that last statement. At 5 this morning I left a warm, dry house to run in 340 temperatures in a misting rain. I had a 6 mile run planned, so I set my Garmin to training mode, clicked start, and trotted up the street.

I slowed down a bit today, already thinking ahead to tomorrow's 15 mile run in an area much more hilly than I typically enjoy. I finished the 6 miles in 1:02:27 for an average 10:24 pace. My mile splits ranged from 10:10 to 10:34, a pretty narrow range compared to my usual training. When I finished, I was soaked from the sweat and rain, but feeling grateful for and satisfied with the run.

My route today was a little easier than the previous two. I needed to back off the difficulty to leave a little something in the tank for tomorrow's 15 miler. One thing that was pretty cool though, this morning's run put me over 150 miles for the month of January, with 5 running days left in the month. By the time February rolls around, I should break 180 miles in January!

With this month being an easy month to slack off, I'm thrilled to get in that many miles. God has really been good to me and I now feel recovered enough from last fall's knee injury to hit it pretty hard.

The Message

It's the 25th day of Janathon and I haven't missed a day, not a day working out and not a day writing about the workout. But it's been more and more tempting lately to turn off the morning alarm and crawl back in bed. We've had cold mornings, windy mornings, rainy mornings, but rarely a nice morning (weatherwise) for a run. So, as the month wears on, it's getting tougher and tougher to rise, dress, and stagger out the door into the cold, windy, wet, or whatever pre-dawn morning.

But God tasked me to run, to run with a mission. If I let a little weather sideline me, what am I telling God? What I'm telling God if I roll over and go back to sleep is, "I'll do what you ask, but only when it's convenient, or comfortable for me."

Is that good enough?
"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." -- 1 Corinthians 9:24

Think of everything God has given us, everything on earth, but most importantly eternal life. God gave His only Son as a sacrifice to pay the debt for our sins. I am a sinner, doomed to spend eternity in Hell except that Jesus Christ payed the debt for my sin! That's the prize, eternal life spent in Heaven where there will be no tears, no pain, no suffering, no misery... And it's mine. And it belongs to whomever else accepts Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. Every Christian is promised the prize, and every Christian will spend eternity in Heaven.

In a race, only one runner wins, but in life, we all have the opportunity to receive the prize. Does that mean we have the luxury to go through life working only halfheartedly to please God? To do His will? If that is an option, and we can still get to Heaven with minimal effort, is it okay to take it easy? To roll back over and wait and run on a warmer, calmer, drier day?
"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." -- 1 Corinthians 10:31

I say Jesus Christ deserves better!

Even though we're guaranteed the prize of salvation, purchased with His blood and His suffering, we should continue to run and give it our best effort. Did Jesus let the pain and agony of death on the cross stop Him? Did He turn back and say we're not worth the agony He knew He'd endure?

No. His suffering was immeasurable so that we might live, and we owe Him our very best effort, all the time. If putting forth that effort means a little discomfort, or even a little suffering, we have a duty to get up and do what we're called to do, for His glory, so that others can see Him through us!

A little cold, a little rain, a little wind? So what. The discomfort we'll experience cannot even compare to the suffering He did for us when He hung on that cross. We owe Jesus Christ a debt we can never repay, but we still have a Christian duty to do what He calls us to do, even when it gets tough.

Not so that others will look at us and say how good we are, how tough we are, or anything along those lines. No, so that others will wonder, "How can you do that?" A question that we can answer in a way that glorifies our Lord and Savior!
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." -- Philippians 4:13

When people ask how you get up so early to run in the rain or cold or wind, tell them it's the strength and motivation given by Jesus Christ. I can't run a marathon, a 5K, not a mile, or even a step, without Jesus Christ giving me the strength and the will to do it.

So I'm going to keep getting up and I'm going to keep running no matter what the weather throws at me. I owe it to Jesus Christ!

If you don't know Jesus as your personal savior, if you're missing the faith, hope, and love written about here, if you want the peace that we as Christians have in our lives, please visit our Got Jesus? page for step-by-step instructions on how to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.

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