I call myself a runner, but I always feel the need to qualify the statement.
I’m not built like a runner. I’m not a fast runner. My mileage wouldn’t impress you.
But I get out there, onto the trail several times a week. And other than the last few months of four pregnancies plus a couple injuries which sidelined me for a time, I’ve been a runner as long as I can remember.
When I run, I’m usually smiling. It’s a strange habit, but I smile in part because running is my alone time. I walk out the front door, ready to move, and it’s like a big, deep breath. Plus a lot of panting, but still.
I smile because the finish line is always on the horizon, and I’m a hoper and a dreamer. I smile, because I need the opportunity to think my own thoughts for a bit. Thoughts about something other than school and the next meal and a million little tasks to do around the house.
Give me some fresh, quiet air under a big blue sky and the opportunity to think my own thoughts–and it feels like being home. Not so much like being in my home, but at home with myself. 🙂
Last week, out on the trail, one of my thoughts morphed into a pressing question:
What are you running after anyway?
I sensed it wasn’t meant physically, and it wasn’t actually coming from my own thoughts.
Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. 1 Corinthians 9:24
I’d read this verse recently. Run in such a way that you may obtain the prize. To be honest, this is a little uncomfortable for me. I’m not one to go after the prize. It seems like everyone I know is competitive, and I’m certain it reveals something broken inside me, but it’s still the truth.
Yet this instruction tells us to run for it. GO AFTER IT. Run like you’re trying to win the prize.
Paul isn’t talking about running though. He’s speaking about our lives. We’re all in the race. We’re all runners, and we don’t need to apologize for whatever level we haven’t arrived at yet.
The course we run is the Christian life. But we’re not running to win the prize of salvation, since salvation comes by faith in Jesus Christ, and not by our own works. What, then, is the prize we’re running to win?
What are we running after anyway?
We’re running after Jesus, friends.
And I know it’s easy to say He’s the One we’re running after, but sometimes we’re pursuing so many other things.
Sometimes we’re running after everything else, hoping something will fill our souls and fix our lives and make us feel better. Those things do make us feel better at times, but it’s temporary. It’s all just a Band-Aid, and it wears off.
In the middle of raising kids to know Jesus and writing words I hope will point people to Him, I sometimes find myself in a distant place, disconnected even. And since I find myself there, I wonder if you do too.
So what are YOU running after today, my friend?
Is Jesus the prize you’re seeking?
Are you pursuing His nearness?
Do you desire to simply know Him more? Is this enough for you?
He really is the Life we so desperately long for. Let’s run to win more of Jesus!
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. Hebrews 11:6
Now this is eternal life: that they know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent. John 17:3
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