Friday, March 6, 2009

I am running in a race?

I have never been good at running. I have never been fast. I have never been able to run very far without gasping for air. I was always the slowest kid in my class in school. I always came in last. My kids have been able to outrun me since they were five. That is probably the reason that I received laughs and eye rolls when I announced to my family that I am going to run in the Calera High PTA 5k/10k race through our city on April 25th. Here is the link to the website if you want more information on this race:

My training did not start out well. I tried to train for some time with very little progress. I would usually run in my neighborhood and try to tackle the run at full speed but the first big hill would wipe me out. I usually ended up turning around and going home to collapse in front of the TV.

Then, I found a really neat training tool. At, you can download a “Couch to 5K” podcast for your MP3 player that helps you train for a race. There are nine weeks of podcasts. The first week starts out slowly by having you run for 60 seconds and walk for 90 second intervals. The really neat thing is that all of the training is set to Christian music. As you listen to the songs, the podcast guy tells you when to run and when to walk.

This training has been good for me. It emphasizes the importance of consistent training to build up enough strength to finish a race. Also, when I focus on the music instead of the pain in my leg, side, knee, etc., I am able to finish my run. When I focus on the pain, a tired muscle or my lack of oxygen, I just can’t make it. Wow, there is a lot of spiritual application there.

This week when I was reading through our Together in the Word reading, Paul’s words about finishing his race really jumped out at me:

Acts 20:22

And see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that
will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city,
saying that chains and tribulations await me. But none of these things move me;
nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy,
and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel
of the grace of God.

I just love what Paul is saying in these verses. The Holy Spirit has revealed to him that once he reaches Jerusalem, he will suffer unbelievable persecution. If the Lord revealed to you that once you reach a certain destination, chains and tribulations would await you, would you turn back? Would you be so concerned about yourself and your life that you would be like Jonah and get on the first boat in the other direction? Paul steadily remains on his path to Jerusalem because he knows that is what the Lord has called him to do. He says that he does not consider his life precious, so that “I may finish my race with joy”. Maybe the reason a lot of us are not experiencing joy in our daily run is that we consider our life too precious. Maybe we are too concerned about things being uncomfortable and hard and not concerned enough about what God has called us to do. This verse says to me that we shouldn’t focus on ourselves and the inconveniences of this life but keep our eyes on the Lord and what He has called us to do. Only then will we finish the race with joy.

I don’t want to finish my race feeling miserable, out of shape and barely making it over the finish line. I really want to finish my race with joy, don’t you? Let’s both pray this week that He will help us to remove our focus from ourselves and place our eyes on Him and the ministry that He has called us each to do.

For more Tuesday (I know this is Friday but better late than never) Together in the Word, go to DeeDee's site.

Please join us as we finish reading through Acts.

Tuesday 3/3/09: Acts 23; Wednesday 3/4/09: Psalm 13-15; Thursday 3/5/09: Acts 24; Friday 3/6/09: Acts 25; Saturday 3/7/09: Acts 26; Sunday 3/8/09: Acts 27; Monday 3/9/07: Acts 28

Blessing to you,