How many among you are runners? I am one of those weird people who enjoys running… in certain circumstances. Mind you, I definitely have some requirements for when I like to run.
I like to run when:
it’s not too early,
it’s not too late,
it’s not too hot,
it’s not too cold,
it’s not raining,
it’s not too humid,
or when a dog is chasing me.
For over a decade I have run with two women who are my bffs, therapists, hand-holders, comediennes, and steadfast supporters of everything I have ever tried. One of our husbands dubbed us as “toggers,” i.e. talking joggers. Really, the whole point is to talk. Running is secondary. We call ourselves Elite Toggers because when it comes to talking while running, no one can hold a candle to our nonsense.
I don’t know if Paul was a runner/jogger/togger but he really had the lingo down. In a letter to church at Philippi, he uses running imagery to describe the pursuit of all things holy.
He begins by laying out his credentials as a properly born Jew:
Philippians 3 (The Message)
You know my pedigree: a legitimate birth, circumcised on the eighth day; an Israelite from the elite tribe of Benjamin; a strict and devout adherent to God’s law; a fiery defender of the purity of my religion, even to the point of persecuting the church; a meticulous observer of everything set down in God’s law Book.
Then Paul goes on to say that he is throwing away all of his credentials for the sake of Christ. He contends that any gain his credentials gave him are a loss now because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus his Lord.
10-11 I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself. If there was any way to get in on the resurrection from the dead, I wanted to do it.
And then the beautiful running analogy:
12-14 I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.
How about you? Are you running toward Jesus or trying to slink away? Do you keep turning back toward your sinful behavior, past mistakes, old habits, and ways of doing things that slow down your forward motion?
Make today a day to be off and running. God is at the finish line, so keep your eye on the goal!